Is there an updated Baby Name Wizard book, or one that is so much like it but made more currently? I bought my copy (well loved, well used, excellent hemming and hawing resource!) four years ago before Ava was popular in that book's opinion, and that is what we named our first child/pregnancy experience. I love that the name is short and sweet and its perfect to describe our little girl who died prematurely. BUT... to me it is evidence that the book is a little dated in opinion and cultural stuff.
I looked online and kind of like Nymbler and What a Lovely Name!, but they aren't as good as Baby Name Wizard. The SSA site is not too helpful either, because I am looking more for inspiration and for the styles/families of names like the book has.
Thanks in advance for your help finding a resource. I hope I have the opportunity to select a few naming options and have your readers give feedback or suggestions!
Oh, I KNOW people are going to want to chime in on this one!
My 2005 edition of The Baby Name Wizard says the name Ava is "suddenly soaring"---and that's the first edition of the book. There's a second edition that came out in 2009; I had to buy mine from an actual physical book store because Amazon.com STILL claims to have the first edition and not the second. The covers look the same except that the 2009 version has a hot-pink circle that says "Fully revised and updated with new names." That's definitely what I'd recommend, above all other baby name books: it's even better than the 2005 and continues to be my favorite baby-name resource of all. I think of her as the absolute expert on style families and sibling names.
This won't help with your question, but since we're on the topic of favorite baby name resources, I also enjoy having a few name dictionaries on hand: I find them useful when I'm looking for a name starting with a certain letter, or names that begin with certain sound, or when I want to find the meaning of a name. The two I use most are The Baby Name Bible (I see it's on Amazon's bargain table for $4.78), even though I get very sick of the snarky tone and the many, many entries that are clearly there only to allow them to put "50,000+ Baby Names!" on the cover; and 100,000+ Baby Names (goodness, that one also is on the bargain table; perhaps this is an indication that it is time for me to update my reference section). For origins and to resolve disputes about meanings, I use The Oxford Dictionary of First Names.
I also buy a lot of other baby name books, just because they're fun and I'm interested. I recently added Baby Names Made Easy, which sorts name into lists by meaning; and The Complete Book of Baby Names, which is basically a name dictionary but with a small section in the front where names are grouped into lists such as "Most Popular in New York" and "Surfers."
I occasionally look up a name online, but it's rare. I find most online baby name sources to be cluttered with ads and misinformation (incorrect origins, incorrect meanings), and if I get a list of search results I have to click to a new ad-filled page every 10 names. However, I know many readers of this blog find information online, so I know they'll have found the good ones and can tell you more about them.
Oh, wait, I have told a lie, because there IS one online baby name source I use, probably more even than I use The Baby Name Wizard: The Social Security Administration baby name site. I know you said you don't find it helpful because you're looking more for style families, but one of the huge advantages of the SSA is that it's where, for example, you can go before you've ever met a single baby named Ava and see information like this (which is how The Baby Name Wizard knew as she was writing her 2005-publication book that the name Ava was soaring, even though she only had access to 2003-and-earlier data):
(screenshot taken from The Social Security Administration baby name site)
(click it to see it larger)
(click it to see it larger)
The SSA site doesn't give style information, but if you have name candidates in mind you can find out if the name is rapidly increasing in popularity or not. You can also look in the same popularity range as a sibling name, or look for inspiration in a certain popularity level (for example, names that aren't in the Top 100 but aren't too far away from it either).
Now I hope others will be able to answer the specific question about resources for name styles and inspiration---but also comment on the broader topic of favorite baby name resources.