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Top Ten Tuesday: Best Books Read in 2014 (So Far)

Hello!

Pat me on the back because I’ve been super organized! All of the posts for this week were pre scheduled because I am currently on a field trip! That’s right folks! For my first week of summer I am chaperoning a 5 day field trip to Disney in Orlando with around 60 6th graders! So that’s where I am today…Disney!

Insane? Yes! Fun? Yes!

The theme for this week’s Top Ten Tuesday (hosted by The Broke and Bookish) is the best books I’ve read so far in 2014. I’ve already read 43 books this year so it was difficult to narrow it down to the 10 titles I’ve enjoyed the most. So, after a good hard look at all the books I’ve read already in 2014, here are my favorites.

  The Crossover by Kwame AlexanderThe Diviners by Libba Bray 

The Crossover by Kwame Alexander

The Diviners by Libba Bray (my review)

Airborn by Kenneth Oppel Better Off Friends by Elizabeth Eulberg

Airborn by Kenneth Oppel (my review)

Better Off Friends by Elizabeth Eulberg (my review)

Cress by Marissa Meyer The Dark Unwinding by Sharon Cameron

Cress by Marissa Meyer (my review)

The Dark Unwinding by Sharon Cameron

Dark Triumph by Robin LaFevers Alanna by Tamora Pierce

Dark Triumph by Robin LaFevers (my review)

Alanna: The First Adventure by Tamora Pierce

Cruel Beauty by Rosamund Hodge Serafina's Promise by Ann E Burg

Cruel Beauty by Rosamund Hodge

Serafina’s Promise by Ann E. Burg

So there you have it! Which titles made it onto your favorites of 2014 (so far) list?

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Creepy Chills and Gatsby: The Diviners by Libba Bray

Hi!

For as long as I can remember I’ve been interested in the Roaring 20s. My mom bought a history of fashion books when I was a little kid and I remember paging through it and always stopping on the 1920s fashion plates. I begged my mom to let me be a flapper for Halloween in 6th grade (I was an age appropriate flapper), and anytime there is a costume party, the 20s flapper is one of my go-to dress up eras!

Although I had head that it was pretty creepy, once I realized that The Diviners by Libba Bray was set in New York in 1926, I knew I wanted to read it.

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Evie O’Neill has been exiled from her boring old hometown and shipped off to the bustling streets of New York City—and she is pos-i-tute-ly ecstatic. It’s 1926, and New York is filled with speakeasies, Ziegfeld girls, and rakish pickpockets. The only catch is that she has to live with her uncle Will and his unhealthy obsession with the oThe Diviners by Libba Brayccult. Evie worries he’ll discover her darkest secret: a supernatural power that has only brought her trouble so far. But when the police find a murdered girl branded with a cryptic symbol and Will is called to the scene, Evie realizes her gift could help catch a serial killer.

As Evie jumps headlong into a dance with a murderer, other stories unfold in the city that never sleeps. A young man named Memphis is caught between two worlds. A chorus girl named Theta is running from her past. A student named Jericho hides a shocking secret. And unknown to all, something dark and evil has awakened.

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Libba Bray rocks my socks off. Her Gemma Doyle trilogy (set in Victorian England) is one of my favorite YA series ever and she definitely didn’t disappoint me with The Diviners! One of the best things about The Diviners is the setting. Evie’s story is set smack dab in the middle of New York City at the height of the Roaring Twenties, a decade that was made for excitement, drama, pleasure, and parties. Spiritualism was quite the trend at the time so what better place to set your paranormal thriller than in this era of heightened experiences? Bray delves so deep into the period that the story just drips with flappers and jazz!  Everything from the catch phrases to fashion and dancing, and as the history nerd I am I really enjoyed seeing tidbits of other social issues like prohibition, eugenics, and cultism in response to society’s loosening structure….it’s all there!

Our main character Evie, is the 1920s personified. Evie is your small town girl searching for love, life, and excitement in the big city. I just love her! Yes, she is annoyingly rebellious, stubborn and overly ready to get her way, but she is also endearing and loyal and all around fun! Sometimes she creates drama where drama needn’t be…like in a creepy basement where murders may or may not have happened, but in the end Evie is a girl who wants to feel everything and is constantly seeking ways to make life even the teensiest bit more intoxicating. She’s definitely the kind of girl you want in your group of friends because life is always interesting with Evie! The supporting characters are all really engaging as well, especially Memphis and Theta! I assume we’ll get even more of them as the series progresses, which is good because there is some weird stuff going on with this group of friends!

The Diviners is super long (550+ pages) but is so well paced you just can’t stop reading (or listening in my case) and I never once felt like the story was dragging in any way. Yes, there is the fun flapper aspect to the story, but with Naughty John, The Diviners is also a dark, frightening paranormal thriller complete with the occult, ritualistic killings, and characters who have mysterious supernatural gifts. This story definitely has enough creep factor to make you keep all the lights on at night!

For those of you (eighth grade and up) who enjoy paranormal thrillers and want a book that will give you chills while also make you want to throw a Gatsby themed party, The Diviners is absolutley, pos-i-tute-ly a must. One warning though, it will leave you wanting so much more! Since this is the first in a series there are tons of unanswered questions and plot points that have yet to fully unravel! I can’t wait for Lair of Dreams!

Author: Libba Bray

Publisher:  Little, Brown Books for Young Readers (September 18, 2012)

Format: Audiobook (Listening Library)

Length: 18 hours and 14 minutes

Narrator(s): January LaVoy

Series: First in the Diviners series

YA/MG: YA

Buy the Book:

 

 

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Waiting on Wednesday: Lair of Dreams

Happy Wednesday!

We are getting closer and closer to the end of the school year! In my district there is only about 5 weeks left! It’s pretty amazing just how quickly this year has sped by…as cliche as that sounds.

I recently read The Diviners by Libba Bray and was completely and utterly entranced by it! Lair of Dreams by Libba BraySo, I’m trying to be patient, but I just can’t wait for book two in the series, Lair of Dreams, to release in 2015!

After a supernatural showdown with a serial killer, Evie O’Neill has outed herself as a Diviner. Now that the world knows of her ability to “read” objects, and therefore, read the past, she has become a media darling, earning the title, “America’s Sweetheart Seer.” But not everyone is so accepting of the Diviners’ abilities. Meanwhile, mysterious deaths have been turning up in the city, victims of an unknown sleeping sickness. Can the Diviners descend into the dreamworld and catch a killer?

Pretty much anything set in the 1920s will make me a happy reader, and I can’t wait to see where Evie’s story goes next! Too bad I have so long to wait!

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Top Ten Tuesday: YA Reads for Fans of Period Dramas

Hi there!

Who likes loosing themselves in a good old fashioned historical drama?  Downton Abbey perhaps? Reign? Pride and Prejudice? The Tudors? North & South perhaps?!

YES PLEASE!

In my world historical dramas are always a positive! No wonder then why I tend to be drawn towards historical fiction when choosing books! Today’s Top Ten Tuesday is all about YA titles for fans of the wonderful world of period dramas!

Belle Epoque by Elizabeth Ross The Dark Unwinding by Sharon Cameron Grave Mercy by Robin LaFevers

  • Belle Epoque by Elizabeth Ross. Takes place in Paris in 1889 at the height of France’s beautiful era.
  • The Dark Unwinding by Sharon Cameron. Historical fiction inspired by the mystery surrounding Welbeck Abbey in Nottinghamshire, England and the 5th Duke of Portland.
  • Grave Mercy by Robin LaFevers. Historical fantasy set in a medieval Brittany. There are assassin nuns. Yup.

What I Saw and How I Lied by Judy BlundellManor of Secrets by Katherine Longshore The Luxe by Anna Godbersen

  • What I Saw and How I Lied by Judy Blundell. This coming of age drama is set in South Florida post World War II…intrigue and seductions abound!
  • Manor of Secrets by Katherine Longshore.  An upstairs/downstairs drama set in a 1911 England.
  • The Luxe by Anna Godbersen. It’s Manhattan 1889 and this is a historical drama full of gossip, fashion, wealth, and romance.

Changeling by Philippa GregoryThe Diviners by Libba Bray

  • Changeling by Philippa Gregory. Picture it…Italy 1453! (ha!) The Goodreads summary says that “dark myths, medieval secrets, intrigue, and romance” populate this one! It was surprisingly fun!
  • The Diviners by Libba Bray. This supernatural drama is set in New York City at the height of the Roaring Twenties!

Great and Terrible Beauty by Libba BrayCross My Heart by Sasha Gould 2

  • A Great and Terrible Beauty by Libba Bray. Another supernatural period drama only this time we’re in a Victorian English boarding school!
  • Cross My Heart by Sasha Gould. A mysterious secret society of women handle things their own way in a 1580s Venice.

Clearly I have a type. Pretty period costume? Check. *nods in approval*

So, what do you think? Are there any other YA period dramas you’d recommend to those of us who love them?

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Top Ten Tuesday: Most Unique YA

Hola everyone!

Let’s talk about the “most unique” YA books I’ve read. This was a difficult theme for me and I’m not sure why. Whatever the reason may be, I only have seven titles on this week’s Top Ten Tuesday (hosted by the Broke and Bookish).

Incarceron by Catherine Fisher The Raven Boys by Maggie Stiefvater Fever Crumb by Philip Reeve Great and Terrible Beauty by Libba Bray

Incarceron by Catherine Fisher Such a strange and enchanting mix of steampunk/sci-fi/fantasy.

The Raven Boys by Maggie Steifvater One of the most interesting takes on the supernatural/paranormal genre I’ve read.

Fever Crumb by Philip Reeve This was just such a weird book; a strange mix of steampunk/dystopian/fantasy.

A Great and Terrible Beauty by Libba Bray I will forever compare all fantasy to this one.

The Scorpio Races by Maggie Stiefvater Revolution by Jennifer Donnelly A Tale of Two Castles by Gail Carson Levine

The Scorpio Races by Maggie Stiefvater Such a hauntingly beautiful take on the fantasy genre.

Revolution by Jennifer Donnelly A cool contemporary turned historical fiction.

A Tale of Two Castles by Gail Carson Levine A blend of middle grade fantasy retelling plus murder mystery wrapped into one.

Apparently, I only think that fantasy and supernatural books are unique! haha That’s pretty much all that is on this list!

What about you? What are the most unique YA books you’ve read?

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Reading Queue: March

The Reading QueueHi there!

Welcome back friends!

What is the Reading Queue?  Well, the Reading Queue is a monthly meme, hosted by Book Tasty (hola!) and Books: A true story where we share our reading plans for the month. You can check out other

Snowy House

I like the way our house wears snow!

participating blogs and see what others are reading and maybe find someone reading the same thing as you! Or you can ask for people to vote on what you should read next if you can’t decide. Please feel free to contact me in the comments if you’d like to join and/or if you have questions!

Well, let me start out by saying that February was a big month in our household. We had our second snow days ever! South Carolina had a huge snow and ice storm in early February and the school district was closed for about a week.  I love snow days because they force you to snuggle down and just relax!

What I read in February

Those snow days allowed me to read some really awesome books!

Dark Triumph by Robin LaFeversDark Triumph by Robin LaFevers (audibook)

LaFevers’ books are just amazingly engrossing. I cannot put them down.

United we Spy by Ally CarterUnited We Spy (Gallagher Girls #6) by Ally Carter (print)

A fitting end for my beloved Gallagher Girls series. I will forever wish I was a real Gallagher Girl!

The Sound of Your Voice Only Really Far Away by Frances O'Roark DowellThe Sound of Your Voice…Only Really Far Away by Frances O’Roark Dowell (print)

What a suprisingly sweet read. I really enjoyed this one!

Better Off Friends by Elizabeth EulbergBetter Off Friends by Elizabeth Eulberg (e-galley)

This was my first Eulberg read and I absolutely thought it was a winner!

Eye of Minds by James DashnerThe Eye of Minds (The Mortality Doctrine #1) by James Dashner (audiobook)

I really like Dashner’s ability to write page turners.

The Diviners by Libba BrayThe Diviners by Libba Bray (audiobook)

I listened to almost half of this audiobook in one day (thank you snow days) because it was THAT good. I had a hard time going back to work because it meant I couldn’t listen to this one all day!

My March Reading Queue

So I have high hopes for myself this month! There are a ton of books I want to read/listen to, so I figure I’ll go big or go home right!?

Fangirl by Rainbow RowellFangirl by Rainbow Rowell (audiobook)

VIrals by Kathy ReichsVirals by Kathy Reichs (audiobook)

Skybreaker by Kenneth OppellSkyBreaker by Kenneth Oppel (audiobook)

Starclimber by Kenneth OppelStarClimber by Kenneth Oppel (audiobook)

The Shadow Throne by Jennifer A. NielsenThe Shadow Throne (The Ascendence Trilogy #3) by Jennifer A. Neilsen (e-galley)

Jessica Darling's It List by Megan McCaffertyJessica Darling’s It List: The (Totally Not) Guaranteed Guide to Popularity, Prettiness & Perfection by Megan McCafferty (print)

Jinx by Sage BlackwoodJinx by Sage Blackwood (print)

Icons by Margaret StohlIcons by Margaret Stohl (print)

March, you’re going to be a great reading month, I just know it! Are you familiar with any of the titles on my Reading Queue this month?  Are there any I should put ahead of others?  I’ve already started Fangirl, so that’ll be my first one of the month!


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Top Ten Tuesday: Fantastic Swoons

Happy Tuesday everyone!

We all know that Valentine’s Day is this Friday and while some of you may eschew this particular holiday, some of you may be in the mood for some majorly swoon worthy reads to cuddle up with. Well, you’re in luck because this week’s Top Tuesday theme is centered around romance!

I read tons of books and most of them involve some sort of romance, because I just like it. Now, I’ve actually done this theme before and it feels too soon to do it again the same way, so this year I’m going to focus on Fantastic Swoons…romances that take place in a fantasy setting of some sort.

Grave Mercy by Robin LaFeversThe Girl of Fire and Thorns by Rae Carson

1. Grave Mercy by Robin LaFevers. This book is kind of like a historical fantasy and there is some major romantic tension between two of the characters.

2. The Girl of Fire and Thorns trilogy by Rae Carson. Most of the swoon making happens in the second and third book, but you have to read book 1 to get the whole picture!

The Burning Sky by Sherry ThomasClockwork Angel by Cassandra Clare

3. The Burning Sky by Sherry Thomas. If you enjoyed The Night Circus by Erin Morganstern, you’ll like the romantic tension in this one too…it has a similar feel.

4.The Infernal Devices trilogy by Cassandra Clare. Seriously, there is some mad romance going on in these steampunk books.

The Scorpio Races by Maggie StiefvaterGreat and Terrible Beauty by Libba Bray

5. The Scorpio Races by Maggie Stiefvater. The heat in this one isn’t in your face, instead it simmers just below the surface.

6. The Gemma Doyle trilogy by Libba Bray. Kartik and Gemma. Say no more!

Graceling by Kristin CashoreA Curse Dark as Gold by Elizabeth C Bunce

7. Graceling by Kristin Cashore. Po….be still my heart!

8. A Curse Dark as Gold by Elizabeth C. Bunce. Super creepy but super swoons too.

Book of A Thousand Days.jpgFire by Kristin Cashore

9. Book of a Thousand Days by Shannon Hale. I love a good romantic fairy tale retold.

10. Fire by Kristin Cashore. A fabulous fantasy with an even better romance!

Like I said before, if you like a good fantasy and a lot of romance thrown in these books are sure to get you in the mood for Valentine’s Day!

Are there any romantic fantasies that aren’t on my list but I should know about? Go ahead and share them in the comments below! :)

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Reading Queue: February

The Reading QueueWell hi there!

What is the Reading Queue?  Well, the Reading Queue is a monthly meme, hosted by Book Tasty (hiya!) and Books: A true story , where we share our reading plans for the month. You can hop to other blogs and see what others are reading and maybe find someone reading the same thing as you! Or you can ask for people to vote on what you should read next if you can’t decide. Please feel free to contact me in the comments if you’d like to join and/or if you have questions!

How I Did Last Month

January is such a great month! I’m always so motivated to do stuff…you know, the whole New Year Effect! haha So, I managed to read seven books in January, three of which were on my Reading Queue! I just feel so accomplished!

Runaway King by Jennifer A. NeilsenThe Runaway King (The Ascendance Trilogy #2) by Jennifer A. Nielsen

Fever Crumb by Philip ReeveFever Crumb by Philip Reeve

The Elite by Kiera CassThe Elite (The Selection #2) by Keira Cass

Under the Never Sky by Veronica RossiUnder the Never Sky by Veronica Rossi

Airborn by Kenneth OppelAirborn by Kenneth Oppel

Cress by Marissa MeyerCress (The Lunar Chronicles #3) by Marissa Meyer (ARC)

The Dark Unwinding by Sharon CameronThe Dark Unwinding by Sharon Cameron

My February Reading Queue

Oh hai February! You’re already here! Wow! Well, my hope is to continue my motivation and read the heck out of some books this month! I was just talking with Alexa Loves Books on twitter last night about how there are just so many books to I want to read!  She said:

Oh so very, very true! hahaha Considering that deep thought, let me share my Reading Queue with you!

United we Spy by Ally CarterUnited We Spy by Ally Carter (print)

Fangirl by Rainbow RowellFangirl by Rainbow Rowell (print)

Defy by Sara B. LarsonDefy by Sara B.. Larson (e-galley)

The Shadow Throne by Jennifer A. NielsenThe Shadow Throne (The Ascension Trilogy #3) by Jennifer E. Nielsen (e-galley)

Dark Triumph by Robin LaFeversDark Triumph (His Fair Assassin #2) by Robin LaFevers (audiobook)

The Diviners by Libba BrayThe Diviners by Libba Bray (audiobook)

Eye of Minds by James DashnerThe Eye of Minds by James Dashner (print)

I did pretty good with six last month, so let’s try one more! Have you ready any of the titles on my Reading Queue for February? If so, which ones should I make top priority?  Also, don’t forget to join up with us this month!

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Top Ten Tuesday: Characters I Would Never Switch Places With

Hello!

Welcome back for another edition of Top Ten Tuesday!

You know how sometimes you finish a book and you just wish you could trade places with the main character and live their charmed life for a little while?  Well, this week’s Top Ten Tuesday (hosted by the Broke and Bookish) is about the opposite of that! This list is all about those “Characters I Would Not Want to Switch Places With”. The lives of the characters on my list are not charmed, and are in fact, pretty terrifying. Are you ready?

Nick and Allie from The Skinjacker Trilogy by Neal Shusterman. I hope and pray that Everlost is is not Everlost by Neal Shustermanreal because this place freaked me out so much when I read these books. There is just so much creepiness that happens in Everlost that I think I’d rather just sink into the Earth rather than tough it out with the Afterlights.

Aria from from Under the Never Sky by Veronica Rossi.  Aria undergoes some major character growth while traveling through “the Deathshop” with Perry, but the dangers she encounters while there are not something I’d want to mess with. First you have these terrible ether storms, then you have the cannabalistic Croven with their sinister jinge bells, and dweller society that isn’t as safe as it first appears. No thank you!

Any person living in one of the Panem districts from The Hunger Games by Suzanne Collins. This one is obviously easy. Why would I ever trade places with anyone from any of the districts when you have to live in constant fear of The Hunger Games?! Not only is there the fear that you might get chosen as tribute, but think about all the other people afraid for their children?! And even if you’re lucky enough to never get chosen, you still have to live in a world where killing kids is entertainment.

Anyone in a Soviet work camp from Between Shades of Gray by Ruta Sepetys. This is really a hard one to talk about because Between Shades of Gray is based on actual events. Thousands of people (men, women, and children) were forced into Soviet work camps and lost their lives during Stalin’s cleansing of the Baltic region. Sepetys’ writing is beautifully haunting and you get good understanding for the horrors these people experienced. I debated adding this one to the list, but this story and setting still stick with me months after reading it and reminds me to be thankful.

Ender Wiggins from Ender’s Game by Orson Scott Card. Ender’s life kind sucks. He thinks he’s in charge of his life, but the whole time someone else is pulling the strings purposefully testing him and making things difficult to bear. Not my idea of fun!

May from May B. by Caroline Starr Rose. May thinks she is going to work for this nice young married May B. by Caroline Starr Rosecouple as their housemaid only to be abandoned in a snow covered prairie homestead with winter coming in full force. May has to struggle to survive all alone and no one knows she needs help. Talk about feeling helpless!

Sam from In Too Deep by Amanda Grace. The amount of guilt Sam experiences due to the choices she makes is just overwhelming while reading this book. I’ve gotten myself into bad situations where the guilt just slowly eats away at your insides and I never want to go through that again! So, no. I will not be trading places with Sam.

Pippa from the Gemma Doyle trilogy by Libba Bray. I can’t say much about this without things becoming majorly spoilery so I won’t got any further. Just know that I wouldn’t switch places with her for anything.

Tuck Everlasting by Natalie BabbittThe Tuck family from Tuck Everlasting by Natalie Babbitt. The poor Tuck family never got a choice in the whole eternal life question; it happened to them with out them even knowing it. I even can’t imagine knowing you are forced to live eternally and you had no say in the matter.

Thomas and The Gladers in The Maze Runner series. A life of hardship and fear forced on you by a government stuck in a desperate situation. Nope. I would have never made it out of the tunnel in the second book because those orbs are so terrifying, not to mention “the cranks”. I can’t even…

All of the books mentioned above were great reads, I just have no desire to trade places with the characters! haha So, what characters would you never trade places with?

 

 

 

 

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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?