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Top Ten Tuesday: YA Character Names That I Love

Hi there!

I took a break from Top Ten Tuesday last week because I had been at my brother’s wedding. I’m back and the wedding was lovely!

This week’s theme for Top Ten Tuesday (hosted by The Broke and Bookish) is favorite character names. I read so many books and some of the names are just laughable (*cough cough* Patch…)  but sometimes I just read, or hear if I’m listening to an audiobook, a name that I love. I’m focusing on female names because when I try to think of boys names from YA they’re usually names I like only because the character is swoonworthy…which I don’t think qualifies (haha!). I have to clarify that these are not necessarily names I’d actually name a child or anything, but these are names that just stick in my mind because I think they sound pretty!

Great and Terrible Beauty by Libba BrayGemma

as in Gemma Doyle from The Gemma Doyle trilogy by Libba Bray. Okay, so I would actually consider naming my daughter Gemma. It’s just so pretty!

Chime by Franny BillingsleyBriony

as in Briony from Chime by Franny Billingsley.  Another name I absolutely adore, if spoken with a British accent.

Etiquette and Espionage by Gail Carriger Sophronia

as in Sophronia Temminnick from Etiquette & Espionage by Gail Carriger. Again, this one must be spoken with a British accent.

The Name of the Star by Maureen JohnsonJazza

Actually this one is a nickname, as in Julianne “Jazza” Benton from The Shades of London series by Maureen Johnson. I guess I really like British sounding names, because Jazza isn’t a common American nickname.

Clockwork Angel by Cassandra ClareTessa

as in Tessa Gray from The Infernal Devices series by Cassandra Clare. I think this is just such a simply pretty name.

Princess Academy by Shannon HaleBritta

as in Britta from Princess Academy by Shannon Hale. So pretty and perfect!

Wildwood Dancing by Juliet MarillierTati

as in Tati from Wildwood Dancing by Juliet Marillier. I love how it just jumps off the tongue.

Finnikin of the Rock by Melina MarchettaEvanjalin

as in Evanjalin from Finnikin of the Rock by Melina Marchetta. What a beautiful and regal sounding name!

The Luxe by Anna GodbersenLina

as in Lina Broud from the Luxe series by Anna Godberson. It’s just such a tiny and lovely name.

Sorcery and Cecilia by Patricia C. WredeCecilia

as in Cecilia Rushton from Sorcery and Cecilia: or The Enchanted Coffee Pot by Patricia C. Wrede. This has always been one of my favorite girls’ names and my husband and I do plan on using this name if we ever have kids one day.

So, what do you think of my name choices today?  Are any of the ones I’ve chosen favorites of yours as well? What names would make your list of favorite YA names?

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Top Ten Tuesday: My Favorite New-To-Me Authors In 2012

Welcome back!

Every week I participate in the Broke and Bookish’s Top Ten Tuesday event. Each Tuesday the lovely people at Broke and Bookish post a theme to create a list by. This week’s theme is theme is My Favorite New-To-Me Authors of 2012.

Well, 2012 is almost over! Can you believe it?! This year has gone by so quickly! I read a lot of books this year and a lot of them were by authors I hadn’t read before. Some I loved and some I wasn’t a huge fan of. Below you’ll find a list of the ten new-to-me authors that I whose work I really loved!

Kami Kinard (The Boy Project)

James Dashner (The Maze Runner series)

Veera Hiranandani (The Whole Story of Half a Girl)

Jay Asher (Thirteen Reasons Why)

Thirteen Reasons Why by Jay Asher

Jack Gantos(Dead End in Norvelt)

Juliet Marillier (Wildwood Dancing)

Ginny Rorby (Lost in the River of Grass)

Tera Lynn Childs (Forgive My Fins)

Linda Sue Park (A Long Walk to Water)

Maureen Johnson (13 Little Blue Envelopes)

P.W. Catanese (Happenstance Found)

I hope that if you haven’t yet read any of these authors you try to soon because they’re all talented storytellers and their books are so worthwhile! Were there any new-to-you authors that you discovered in 2012?

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Top Ten Tuesday: Top Ten Characters I’d Like To Switch Places With

Top Ten TuesdayHola!

Every Tuesday I participate in Top Ten Tuesday which is hosted by The Broke and Bookish. Every week they post a theme to create our own bookish lists.

I’m not a huge fan of this week’s official theme, so I’m going to do the one from last week (which I skipped because I did an August New Release list), which is Top Ten Characters I’d Like To Switch Places With For 24 Hours.  So these are all characters who’s shoes I’d love to temporarily (or permanently) fill.

Catherine Morland1. Cathrine Morland

Northanger Abbey by Jane Austen

Other than Elizabeth Bennett, Catherine Morland is my favorite of Austen’s heroines.  She is just so loveable and naive and is full of book lust! I think that I could manage pretty well in Catherine’s slippers as she dances with Henry Tilney,  goes on long country walks with Elinor and explores Bath for the first time.

Don't Judge a Girl by Her Cover by Ally Carter2. Cammie Morgan

The Gallagher Girl series by Ally Carter

I’m pretty sure I’ve said this (many) times, but I want to be a student at the Gallagher Girl Academy for Exceptional Young Women!  I want to learn how to be a spy in a huge, old mansion. I’ll just overlook the whole secret organization who may or may not wish me harm thing.

Midnight in Austenland by Shannon Hale3. Charlotte Kinder

Midnight in Austenland by Shannon Hale

I just want to vacation at Austenland.  I also like the idea of some mystery and intrigue thrown in with my Regency romance. So, yes I could do very, very well for myself at Austenland!

13 Little Blue Envelopes by Maureen Johnson4. Ginny

13 Little Blue Envelopes by Maureen Johnson

Ginny gets to travel all over Europe on a special quest.  Yes please! I wish someone would give me money and send me off to explore Europe!

Anna and the French Kiss by Stephanie Perkins5. Anna

Anna and the French Kiss by Stephanie Perkins

Boarding school in Paris?! Why not! I laughed that Anna was, at first, angry about being sent to live in Paris for a year, because I thought…well heck! I’ll gladly take your place Anna! Can I still attend a French boarding school at 29?

Clockwork Princess by Cassandra Clare6. Tessa Gray

The Infernal Devices series by Cassandra Clare

Okay, so I’ll admit Tessa’s life isn’t all romance, puppy dogs and laughter.  She loves two boys, doesn’t know who she really is, and has these robotic/clockwork creatures chasing her, but I’d still switch spots with Tessa for a day.  I’d love to explore Victorian London, with a certain Welsh shadowhunter!

A Rather Lovely Inheritance by CA Belmond7. Penny Nichols

A Rather series by C.A. Belmond

If I was Penny Nichols (yes that’s her name) I could gallivant all over Europe in an antique sports car or yacht.  I would also have a job that allowed me to find historic antiques and solve mysteries.

Carmen 8. Carmen

The Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants series by Anne Brashares

I just want to be a part of this group of friends and Carmen is my favorite of them all.

Wildwood Dancing by Juliet Marillier9. Jena

Wildwood Dancing by Juliet Marillier

I know she gets mixed up with the dangerous fairy world, but Jena is just a fun character and I wouldn’t mind living in a fairy tale like setting for a day or so…but only for a day!

Rumors by Anna Godbersen10. Diana Holland

The Luxe series by Anna Godbersen

Gilded Era Manhattan? Wealthy young socialites in gorgeous gowns?  I can play dress up for a day!

Which fictional characters would you be willing to switch places with?

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Fairy Tale Awesomeness: Wildwood Dancing by Juliet Marillier

Hi there! Who likes fairy tales?  I do and I recently read Wildwood Dancing by Juliet Marillier.

High in the Transylvanian woods, at the castle Piscul Draculi, live five daughters and their doting father. It’s an idyllic life for Jena, the second eldest, who spends her time exploring the mysterious forest with her constant companion, a most unusual frog. But best by far is the castle’s hidden portal, known only to the sisters. Every Full Moon, they alone can pass through it into the enchanted world of the Other Kingdom. There they dance through the night with the fey creatures of this magical realm.

But their peace is shattered when Father falls ill and must go to the southern parts to recover, for that is when cousin Cezar arrives. Though he’s there to help the girls survive the brutal winter, Jena suspects he has darker motives in store. Meanwhile, Jena’s sister has fallen in love with a dangerous creature of the Other Kingdom–an impossible union it’s up to Jena to stop.

When Cezar’s grip of power begins to tighten, at stake is everything Jena loves: her home, her family, and the Other Kingdom she has come to cherish. To save her world, Jena will be tested in ways she can’t imagine–tests of trust, strength, and true love.Wildwood Dancing by Juliet Marillier

Like I mentioned before, I love fairy tales.  I’m always a sucker for them. All the time.  This one had been sitting on my “To Read” shelf for a few years and I’m so glad I finally got to it because although it took a little for me to get into, once I was hooked, I was hooked!  Completely enthralled!

In Wildwood Dancing, Juliet Marillier masterfully weaves together multiple fairy tales giving this story its own unique appeal.  I can’t tell you which fairy tales Marillier uses without giving away major plot lines and twists, but I will say that the main one is The Twelve Dancing Princesses which has been one of my all time favorite fairy tales since I was a child.  In fact, the main reason I love this fairy tale so much is due to an animated show that used to be on Nickelodeon in the 90s when I was a kid.  Does anyone remember this series?  It was called Grimm’s Fairy Tale Classics and this particular episode was The Word Out Dancing Shoes.

I used to love when that episode came on!  Well, Wildwood Dancing reminded me  a lot of this episode!

One of the main things I really enjoyed about this story is the setting.  Marillier places her characters in Transylvania, a region in Romania, circa 1500 – right smack dab in the middle of the medieval era!  I love how Marillier pulled in the rich Transylvanian folklore to make her story stronger.  Wildwood Dancing combines historical fiction, folkloric fantasy, romance and drama all into one big bowl and mixes it all together to create fairy tale awesomeness.  Seriously.

Although this is a take on The Twelve Dancing Princesses, this story only has five. Jena, the main character, is a smart and opinionated  young woman who is used to being the practical one. She is, although not the oldest sister, the mother-like figure to them all; she keeps an eye on her sisters when they travel to the magical Wildwood on full moon nights.  Her main flaw, which Jena comes to realize, is her constant attempt to control everything, especially change.  Jena is both the traditional princess who follows rules and a more modern girl with some spunk.

I will say that the beginning of the story was slightly slow and difficult to get into, but once the story picks up you’re in for good.  I listened to the audiobook, as part of the 2012 YA Audiobook Challenge.  It is narrated by Kim Mai Guest and was enthralled.  I’m quickly realizing that Kim Mai Guest is my favorite audiobook narrator out there.  I’ve happened to listen to three or four books narrated by her and am constantly amazed at her range and ability to speak with difficult accents so well.  She’s kind of my audiobook idol. :)

Wildwood Dancing comes highly recommended to those who love fairy tales and fantasy, but I definitely suggest the audiobook because Mai Guest is a master at accents and this is her narration best!

Author: Juliet Marillier

Publisher: Listening Library; Unabridged (January 13, 2009)

Format: Audiobook

Length: 12 hrs and 52 mins

Narrator(s): Kim Mai Guest

Series: First in a series of two

YA/MG: MG/YA

Buy the Book: Wildwood Dancing