The best books that make you say: yas, queen!

Why am I passionate about this?

I am an award-winning New Zealand-born Canadian author with a love of fairy tales and female empowerment. I grew up reading books about boys for boys and found it hard to find a strong female heroine I could relate to. I wrote Contest of Queens, Queen's Catacombs, and Queendom Come to give young readers that character I so longed for as a child and set the series in a world where gender norms are reversed to expose some of the silly gender norms we adhere to in our own lives. I hope to make my readers think while also shining a little more kindness into their lives.


I wrote...

Queen's Catacombs

By Jordan H. Bartlett,

Book cover of Queen's Catacombs

What is my book about?

Winning the crown was just the beginning. Jacs, now the rightful Queen of Frea, seems to be Queen in title alone. She scrambles to learn the customs and traditions of a Realm she had only read about in books. The Council of Four have her firmly under their thumb, and their ideas for the Queendom are oppressive and outdated. Their knowledge of her mother and Master Leschi’s whereabouts is the only leverage they need to make the new Queen dance to their tune.

Jacs is determined to find those who were taken from her and do what’s right for her Queendom. But in her search for answers, Jacs uncovers a much darker truth from the Queendom’s past that will forever change its future.

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The books I picked & why

Book cover of The Power

Jordan H. Bartlett Why did I love this book?

In Alderman’s novel, young women get the power to electrocute others by touch overnight, and the young women are then able to awaken this power in the older women.

In a very short space of time, the world’s power structure is flipped on its head as women realize that they no longer have to fear nor submit to the strength of men.

The novel follows multiple characters in different facets of society, we see these changes evolve through the eyes of a political figure, a mob boss’s daughter, a troubled teen who founds a new religion, a handsome male reporter, and many others.

I loved the questions her novel raised in me about the true nature of power and how so many acts we normalize as gender-based, have nothing to do with gender at all and everything to do with power dynamics between the strong and the weak.

This book was wildly influential when I was writing the first book in my series: Contest of Queens. As I was writing a story set in a matriarchy, there were a few elements to this that I shied away from as I thought it would alienate readers.

But reading this novel emphasised that I hadn’t pushed the envelope enough, and inspired me to dig much deeper into the “what ifs” of a woman-run world.

By Naomi Alderman,

Why should I read it?

7 authors picked The Power as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

WINNER OF THE WOMEN'S PRIZE FOR FICTION
ONE OF BARACK OBAMA'S BEST BOOKS OF 2017

'Electrifying' Margaret Atwood

'A big, page-turning, thought-provoking thriller' Guardian

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All over the world women are discovering they have the power.
With a flick of the fingers they can inflict terrible pain - even death.
Suddenly, every man on the planet finds they've lost control.

The Day of the Girls has arrived - but where will it end?

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'The Hunger Games crossed with The Handmaid's Tale' Cosmopolitan

'I loved it; it was visceral, provocative and curiously pertinent . . . The story has stayed…


Book cover of Terrier: The Legend of Beka Cooper #1

Jordan H. Bartlett Why did I love this book?

Another huge influence on my series, this book follows a female guard as she overcomes baddies and her own social anxiety.

I loved the portrayal of a strong female lead who wasn’t an emotionless tank. She had her own limitations, she upheld positive relationships with her friends, she cared, she was vulnerable, and she still got the job done. When writing my own women-led military, I needed a reason why men would be barred from serving.

This novel had female guards working in pairs and I loved this idea. Women working together to topple bigger, stronger criminals by outmaneuvering their foes became the focus of my military. 

By Tamora Pierce,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Terrier as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it. This book is for kids age 12, 13, 14, and 15.

What is this book about?

A New York Times bestseller from the fantasy author who is legend herself: TAMORA PIERCE. In this first book in the Beka Cooper Trilogy, Beka uses her unique magic and street smarts to crack the kingdom's worst cases!

Keep out of the way. Obey all orders. Get killed on your own time.

Beka Cooper is one of the newest trainees in the Provost's Guard. As a rookie—known as a Puppy—she's assigned to the realm's toughest district: the Lower City. It should be a death sentence. The Lower City is filled with pickpockets who are fast as lightning, murderers stalking the…


Book cover of The Signature of All Things

Jordan H. Bartlett Why did I love this book?

A bildungsroman for women.

Until I read this book, I hadn’t read a coming-of-age story that focused on womanhood (it would be a few more years until I read Jane Eyre). I don’t think I realized all of the nuanced experiences that reading books about boys becoming men obviously couldn’t explore.

This book was like a lightning strike through my soul, and reading about a woman growing up and trying to make a name for herself in a male-oriented field (science), really exposed all of the invisible barriers women face.

She is raised with every opportunity, and yet barred from entering many scientific fields simply because of her sex. Finding a loophole in the field of botany, she is able to flourish. Together with her attempts to navigate her relationships with the women and men in her life, it is just such an important book. 

By Elizabeth Gilbert,

Why should I read it?

6 authors picked The Signature of All Things as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

_______________ SHORTLISTED FOR THE WELLCOME BOOK PRIZE LONGLISTED FOR THE BAILEYS WOMEN'S PRIZE FOR FICTION _______________ 'Quite simply one of the best novels I have read in years' - Elizabeth Day, Observer 'Charming ... extensively researched, compellingly readable' - Jane Shilling, Daily Telegraph 'Sumptuous ... Gilbert's prose is by turns flinty, funny, and incandescent' - New Yorker _______________ A captivating story of botany, exploration and desire, by the multimillion copy bestselling author of Eat Pray Love Everything about life intrigues Alma Whittaker. Her passion for botany leads her far from home, from London to Peru to Tahiti, in pursuit of…


Book cover of Stravaganza City of Stars

Jordan H. Bartlett Why did I love this book?

This one I read when I was much younger and think about often.

Georgia, a tomboy with an awful stepbrother and a serious lack of parental support, makes friends with an old man in an antique store who gives her the key to traveling to another world.

What sticks with me most about this book is that she spends the majority of it ashamed of her own skin, hiding who she is, dressing as a boy, and shrinking from who she truly is. Throughout the course of the novel, she finds her voice, discovers her strength, and claims the beauty what she has to offer the world.

This was such an important book when I was a teenager, as I felt incredibly uncomfortable in my rapidly changing body. To read about a girl who earns her own love was truly empowering.

By Mary Hoffman,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Stravaganza City of Stars as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it. This book is for kids age 12, 13, 14, and 15.

What is this book about?

Sequel to City of Masks, the setting is again Talia, the parallel world very similar to 16th-century Italy, but the main character in this book is Georgia - who has a love of horses. She is desperate to buy a little, dusty winged horse that has appeared in a local antique shop. This tiny, winged horse proves to be the talisman that transports Georgia right into the rivalries and the high-octane excitement of the hugely competitive Stellata horse race. Mary Hoffman proved herself a mistress of a narrative tour-de-force with City of Masks and this sequel will not disappoint. Fans…


Book cover of Black Sheep

Jordan H. Bartlett Why did I love this book?

In the era of Bridgerton and in the wake of 2005’s Pride and Prejudice film, my heart has been swallowed whole by regency era period pieces.

This novel has the best banter I have ever read. The female lead, Abigail, considers herself a spinster (in her *gasp* late twenties) and thus past the age of romance. She resigns herself to caring for her very high-maintenance relatives. Until she meets Mr. Calverleigh.

She is so determined to loathe him, but can’t help but be charmed by his conversation. I loved watching this independent woman learn to put herself first and reluctantly fall in love with the last person she expected.

By Georgette Heyer,

Why should I read it?

2 authors picked Black Sheep as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

He had nothing to recommend him but his smile. Miss Wendover's efforts to detach her niece from a fortune-hunter are complicated by the arrival in Bath of Miss Caverleigh.


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The Midnight Man

By Julie Anderson,

Book cover of The Midnight Man

Julie Anderson Author Of The Midnight Man

New book alert!

Why am I passionate about this?

I write historical crime fiction, and my latest novel is set in a hospital, a real place, now closed. The South London Hospital for Women and Children (1912–1985) was set up by pioneering suffragists and women surgeons Maud Chadburn and Eleanor Davies-Colley (the first woman admitted to the Royal College of Surgeons) and I recreate the now almost-forgotten hospital in my book. Events take place in 1946 when wartime trauma still impacts upon a society exhausted by conflict, and my book choices also reflect this.

Julie's book list on evocative stories set in a hospital

What is my book about?

A historical thriller set in south London just after World War II, as Britain returns to civilian life and the men return home from the fight, causing the women to leave their wartime roles. The South London Hospital for Women and Children is a hospital, (based on a real place) run by women for women and must make adjustments of its own. As austerity bites, the coldest Winter then on record makes life grim. Then a young nurse goes missing.

Days later, her body is found behind a locked door, and two women from the hospital, unimpressed by the police response, decide to investigate. Highly atmospheric and evocative of a distinct period and place.

The Midnight Man

By Julie Anderson,

What is this book about?

BEWARE THE DARKNESS BENEATH

Winter 1946

One cold dark night, as a devastated London shivers through the transition to post-war life, a young nurse goes missing from the South London Hospital for Women & Children. Her body is discovered hours later behind a locked door.

Two women from the hospital join forces to investigate the case. Determined not to return to the futures laid out for them before the war, the unlikely sleuths must face their own demons and dilemmas as they pursue - The Midnight Man.

‘A mystery that evokes the period – and a recovering London – in…


5 book lists we think you will like!

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