The best books with stories featuring a strong female character

Who am I?

Raised on Nancy Drew who was herself outspoken and independent, I’m attracted to stories about barrier-breaking determined women who don’t back down from a fight. While many of the heroines of fantasy fiction have special abilities or can work magic, being able to stand up for oneself and speak one’s mind in the face of opposition is itself a superpower. I enjoy seeing how other authors portray it, what wrongs the heroines aim to put right, and how they do it.


I wrote...

Lady Blackwing Earns Her Mask

By Devorah Fox,

Book cover of Lady Blackwing Earns Her Mask

What is my book about?

With her words, she has the power to change the world. In her third adventure, Mercedes aka struggling superhero Lady Blackwing meets violence against women head on. When bullies torment a fellow student, Mercedes hangs back. Remorse drives her to join Zorro, a campus safety club, where she falls for the leader. She uses her superpowers to win his affection only to discover he has a hidden agenda. 

The books I picked & why

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The Tower's Alchemist

By Alesha Escobar,

Book cover of The Tower's Alchemist

Why this book?

I was fascinated with the heroine Isabella and enjoyed watching her grow throughout this series. In Book 1, The Tower's Alchemist, she is like most young women her age. She could be content to spend her time having fun with friends, reading brides' magazines, and planning a future with the man she loves. But the world is at war and the good guys need her for her unique and particular talents. She accepts what she thinks will be her last mission. It’s no small task; she aims to stop the Nazis from deploying a monstrously deadly bio-weapon. The secret service she works for and the bio-warfare were inspired by actual WWII events which made the story even more believable. By Book Three she has embraced her special powers without losing her humanity. I liked her persistence and dedication.

The Tower's Alchemist

By Alesha Escobar,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked The Tower's Alchemist as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

British intelligence wants her spying skills. A vampiric warlock wants to steal her powers. The Master Wizards who trained her want her dead...

Nazis have unleashed occult forces throughout Europe, and the Allies are forced to recruit wizards to counter their attacks. Among them is battle weary spy, Isabella George, a Gray Tower dropout trained in Alchemy. Longing for retirement and a life of peace, she accepts one final job...extract a deadly warlock from Nazi-occupied France and prevent him from unleashing an alchemical weapon that will devour the continent.

But France is crawling with the Cruenti, vampiric warlocks who feed…


Made to Forget

By Samantha LaFantasie,

Book cover of Made to Forget

Why this book?

The story opens with Elsa waking from a coma to discover that she has lost her memory. Recovering from her injuries would seem to be a sufficient challenge but Elsa does remember enough to realize that stakes are bigger than her personal trauma. An epic struggle is being waged between the two races of her world. Elsa’s a warrior; she knows that she’s a part of it and that it’s her duty to fight. So she soldiers on even though she doesn’t know who are the allies and who are the enemies. The fast-paced suspenseful story kept me reading because I wanted to know how this plucky woman got into this predicament and how she was going to get out of it.

Made to Forget

By Samantha LaFantasie,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Made to Forget as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

There's something that lies within my memory. Hidden in the dark. Something that can kill me and those that I love. But I was in an accident, covered in mystery and deception. And my memory…was lost. There are those who want me to remember. I don't trust them.  And those I do trust…are fighting for me to forget.

Elsabetha Ellery wants to get her memory back, even if it kills her.

After waking up in a hospital with no memory, Elsabetha quickly learns those who claim to be her friend are anything but. And those who are her true friends…


Missing: Corpus Christi Mysteries, Book 1

By Alice Marks,

Book cover of Missing: Corpus Christi Mysteries, Book 1

Why this book?

The series begins with Missing. The first puzzle is what happened to Rhonda? And what's Sandra running from, and will she overcome the obstacles to making her escape? What secret is Dr. Linda's husband hiding? Even more interesting to me was the fate of Maria Gonzales. Would the young officer, pressed into service on a case that looks like a career-killer, solve the mystery and gain the respect of her partner, a veteran detective? I had great fun following the story's interwoven threads all the way to the end. A huge fan of Alice Marks's shorter works, I was thrilled to have an entire novel of hers to read, and was delighted to see that the series and Maria Gonzales both continue on through Breaks and RV Murder.

Missing: Corpus Christi Mysteries, Book 1

By Alice Marks,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Missing as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

Rhonda Collins MD is a popular physician at a Corpus Christi family clinic. One day she leaves on her lunch break and never returns.
The media learns about the missing woman and everyone in the city is caught up in the mystery of what happened to a beautiful doctor. Pressed by the media, the head of the South Corpus Christi Police Department reluctantly appoints two detectives, veteran Sgt. Stan Belkin and newbie, Maria Gonzales, to the case. The two begin an uneasy relationship, which sometimes becomes warlike.
The husband of Linda, Rhonda’s best friend, carries a secret. Linda wonders if…

Black Danube: A Leo Katz Mystery

By Nik Grybaski,

Book cover of Black Danube: A Leo Katz Mystery

Why this book?

What is the secret so closely held by the main character, crime photographer Leo Katz? That’s intriguing enough. Even more fascinating is his colleague, Lucy Strauss. A smart and gutsy young woman she is far more outspoken than what was expected and accepted of ladies in 1899 Vienna. Even more shocking is her chosen aspiration. She’s a pathologist in training. She, Leo, and Lucy’s boss Klaus uncover corruption as they seek to solve a mysterious death.

Black Danube: A Leo Katz Mystery

By Nik Grybaski,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Black Danube as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

1899 Vienna. A young dissident is murdered - his fiancée, wrongly accused.

Crime photographer Leo Katz’s images expose the true killers. But to save the innocent woman from the gallows, he risks revealing that he is in disguise and on the run.

As Leo infiltrates a nefarious network of vice controlled by government officials, he discovers the gruesome death is a smokescreen for more depraved crimes.

Now he must bring the murderers to justice before he becomes their next victim.

Grab your copy of this thrilling crime mystery now!


Skeleton Man

By Tony Hillerman,

Book cover of Skeleton Man

Why this book?

I am a huge fan of Tony Hillerman’s Leaphorn and Chee novels. I was privileged to meet Mr. Hillerman at a writers convention. He was gracious and supportive of other authors and I learned a lot from his presentation. The main characters of his series are two male Navajo police officers but in The Fallen Man he introduced Bernadette “Bernie” Manuelito. In that story she is a new officer with the tribal police but in Skeleton Man she has become a federal Customs Patrol officer. Smart and capable, she holds her own, be it in the office with senior male officers or in the harsh, challenging American Southwest desert territory that is her “beat.” As an indoor girl, I was almost more impressed with the latter as I was with her role in solving the case.

Skeleton Man

By Tony Hillerman,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Skeleton Man as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

“In his masterly reworking of this powerful myth, Hillerman creates a kachina for contemporary times. . . . No wonder Hillerman’s stories never grow old. Like myths, they keep evolving with the telling.”— New York Times Book Review

From the enduring "national and literary cultural sensation" (Los Angeles Times) Tony Hillerman, a crackling tale of myth, mystery, and murder featuring the legendary Leaphorn and Chee.

Though he may be retired, Navajo Tribal Police Lieutenant Joe Leaphorn hasn’t lost his curiosity or his edge. He’s eager to help Sergeant Jim Chee and his fiancée Bernie Manuelito with their latest case—clearing an…


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