I read. A lot. And I read just about everything...except for bios. I don't read much in the way of biographies. But, my favorite books are ones with strong female characters. Here are a few of my favorite books - they run the gamut in regards to category - some are young adult, some are fantasy, some are fiction, but all of them have awesome female characters that I love.
1. The Amelia Peabody Series, Elizabeth Peters
Fiction // Mystery // Ancient Egypt
My favorite series. Amelia Peabody is what you would call an old maid. Being that she was the only one who cared for her sickly father, she inherits some money after he passes away and uses it to travel the world, in particular Egypt. Shenanigans ensues over something like 20 books. I'll be honest, I haven't finished the series yet. Amelia is awesome. She takes on a whole new occupation and finds love in her 30s. She kicks ass and takes names. She solves crazy mysteries. She has 1 kid and makes no apologies for not having any others and for not being as maternal as other mothers. She adventures like no man has done before. She is witty, sarcastic, and, I have to say, a bit bitchy. Any I like it. The books are fantastic and historically rich. The author, Elizabeth Peters, is actually has her doctorate in Egyptology. Quite honestly, Ms. Peters is just as worthy of our admiration as Amelia!
You may also enjoy: The Carnation Series, by Lauren Willig, Gone Girl, by Gyllian Flynn, The Southern Vampire Mystery Series, by Charlene Harris.
2. The Song of the Lioness Quartet, Tamora Pierce
Young Adult Fantasy
Honestly, just about any book by Tamora Pierce has a fantastic female heroine, but this happens the be the first book (well, series) that I picked up written by her. I first read this book when I was in 6th grade and I immediately loved it. In fact, I loved it so much, that almost 20 years later, I still pick up just about every new book written by Pierce. This particular series follows a young girl, Alanna, as she disguises herself as a man to become to first woman to become a knight in centuries. She's pretty bad ass, and I'm not going to lie, I had a crush on quite a few of the male characters back in the day. In fact, a few of my friends and I still
You may also enjoy: Any other Tamora Pierce Book Written (I like the The Legend of Beka Cooper Series, the Immortals Series, Tricksters Choice and Tricksters Queen and best), His Dark Materials Trilogy, by Philip Pullman, Time Series, by Madeleine L'Engle, and The Hunger Games, by Suzanne Collins.
3. The Outlander Series, Diana Gabaldon
Fiction // Historical Romance
I'll be honest, I really put this book on the list because the male hero of this series was my first love. But, that doesn't detract from the fact that the main character of this series is a pretty competent lady. Forgiving the fact that we're dealing with time travel (to historic Scotland!), there's some very tangible real-world issues faced by the female character(s) here - being a nurse during WWII, becoming a doctor before lots of women were doctors, having an engineer for a daughter, roughing it in a male community, yadda yadda yadda. And it's a good love story. In fact, I think I'm going to re-read the series this fall, I like it that much.
You may also enjoy: Wilderness Series, by Sara Donati, The Physick Book of Deliverance Dane, by Katherine Howe, Mara: Daughter of the Nile, by Eloise Jarvis McGraw, The Winter Sea, by Susanna Kearsley.
4. Lives of the Mayfair Witches Series, Anne Rice
Fiction // Fantasy // Adult Content
I started reading Anne Rice in 5th grade, after my mother specifically told me not to. Since then, I've read just about every book she's written, except for those written during her born-again Christian phase that occurred a few years ago. Sorry to say, they did not appeal to me. This series is moderately vampire free and follows the powerful witches of the Mayfair clan. This series is quite adult content, and definitely not young adult, but still deals with a lot of the same fantasy concepts that are popular today. It also happens to be set in my favorite city, New Orleans.
You may also enjoy: The Mercy Thompson Series, by Patricia Briggs, Any other Book by Anne Rice (there are a lot), Anything by Kim Harrison, the Otherworld Series (or anything else), by Kelley Armstrong.
5. The Wedding Shroud: A Tale of Ancient Rome , Elisabeth Storrs
I came across this book in the Kindle Prime Library and got it based off of the positive reviews. I have really enjoyed it. I tore through it and immediately purchased the sequel, The Golden Dice. Unfortunately, I read it too fast, and now I must wait at least a year for the third (and, I think, final) book of the series to come out. Essentially this book follows a Roman Citizen of questionable heritage, Aemelia, as she is forced into a political marriage with an Etruscan enemy for the benefit of all Romans. Drama (and sex and drug addiction) ensues, and everyone's love, loyalty, courage, etc. is tested. If you enjoy historical fiction, this is an excellent read. The characters are skillfully developed and I quite like them. I would say that at no point does it get sordid, although it does deal with adult themes. I'd also like to say, the second book is even better and more developed than the first.
You may also like: Nefertiti and The Heretic Queen by Michelle Moran, The Memoirs of Cleopatra, by Margaret George, The Sekhmet Bed, by L.M. Ironside, Anything by Philippa Gregory.
Can you suggest any books with awesome female characters in them for me to read?