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Wonder Women: Here Come The Girls - Strong Female Leads

With 84% of romance readers identify as women, it is not always all about the ‘D'. Sometimes, it’s the ‘V’ (or is it the ‘TT?!) that makes a reader want to whip off their bra and beat their chest. Here are 25 novels that made us fall in love with the heroine. No Men Need Apply - this Time it is all about the Women!

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Elizabeth Bennett from Pride and Prejudice by Jane Austen

Jeff Miller, Faceout Studio / Via goo.gl

Fitzwilliam Darcy was the first alpha book boyfriend ever written. No self-proclaimed romance addict can deny that Darcy's fierce loyalty made us rip our bodices off. Yet, it's strong, independent Elizabeth who stole the story.

Gin, Tonic and Novels imparts:

"Well, obvious Elizabeth Bennett! In a time period where the role of a woman was defined by how well she married, and mastered the arts as well as how well she kept her opinions to herself, Elizabeth excelled at standing up for herself, to her family, to that awful Lady Catherine de Bourgh as well as the rich and mostly intimidating Mr. Darcy. Even at a tender young age, Elizabeth was no push over. Her independence and the brains to back it up were phenomenal for the times that the book was written!"

Published 1813 (Goodreads)

Elena Deveraux from Guild Hunter series by Nalini Singh

Penguin Sensation / Via goodreads.com

Do your reading tastes run with an other worldly flavor? Are you looking for a heroine whose job is to keep us mortals safe? We've got the girl for you.

Snarky Aussie wants you to know:

"She's a hunter, tasked by an archangel to locate another archangel gone rogue, and she is BAD ASS. She stands up to these men and women stronger than her, and despite her mortality, she keeps going. She takes no bullshit and it's awesome. Angels' Blood, the first of the series, was the first romance novel of any kind I read, and what got me hooked."

Published 1/1/2009 (Goodreads)

Sam Holland from the Fatal Series by Marie Force

HTBJ Inc / Via goodreads.com

Maybe a bit of political intrigue set in the US Capitol to burn the pages of your favorite eReader? This leading lady will not let sexual chemistry get in the way of solving a case.

#1 Braves Fan imparts:

"She's a D.C. Metro homicide detective, the wife of the VP of the United States and a mom of an adopted teenager struggling with fertility issues. She never backs down from a challenge and takes everything in stride."

Published 6/21/2010 (Goodreads)

Juliet Lawler (Jules) from Rock Chick Renegade by Kristen Ashley

Kristen Ashley / Via goodreads.com

This heroine dishes out vigilante justice like mashed potatoes at Thanksgiving.

Bay Lover said:

"She fights for others who can't stand up for themselves. Without a care for the danger it could put her in."

Glitter Gulch Queen squealed:

"I love ALL the Rock Chicks!!!!"

Published 3/14/2011 (Goodreads)

Nora Sutherland from Original Sinners series by Tiffany Reisz

Tiffany Reisz / Via goodreads.com

Do readers often fantasize how much research goes into an erotic novel? Our heroine gives us a deep dive into living in the risque world.

Page Prescriber gives us:

"Started as assertive teen, turned submissive/masochist to Sadist priest but blossomed into a badass, take no prisoners Dominatrix and grew into a powerful Switch. (And she's a kickass author,lol) it's a unconventional choice, but I've always loved her bold and changing character through the entire series."

Little Lamb Reader stated:

"Ditto"

Published 6/2/2012 (Goodreads)

Natalie Conner from Come Away With Me by Kristen Proby

Sara Eirew / Via goodreads.com

Tell me no secrets, tell me no lies? Well, this heroine is looking for honesty and strength in a partner.

Fashion Forward Teacher wraps up with:

"She's been through multiple forms of tragedy, and has to learn it's ok to love and be loved. She is who she is and doesn't care what others have to say."

Published 11/7/2012 (Goodreads)

Bullet from Bullet to the Heart by Lea Griffith

Georgia Woods / Via goodreads.com

Super spy? Check! No Excuses? Check! No Fear? Check! This alpha girl brings men to their knees knowing she is on the hunt.

Bay Lover commands:

"SO kick-ass! The collective tried to torture the humanity out of her but she was able to fight back."

Published 10/1/13 (Goodreads)

Fern Taylor from Making Faces by Amy Harmon

Amy Harmon / Via goodreads.com

Is Belle your favorite Disney heroine? We introduce this unremarkable girl whose heroism to brings life this story's beast.

Too Hot for Vegas proclaims:

"Too many books! How could I forget Making Faces. There's so much to say about her...I'm trying to narrow it down without babbling...Fern is a self-proclaimed wallflower, a face in the crowd, a best friend to a boy trapped in a body that doesn't work. Smitten by a popular hometown wrestling hero, she knows he will never look her way.

But what happens when heroes fall? If you're lucky enough to have Fern in your corner, the possibilities are endless. She's the kind of girl who makes a disabled boy feel like a super hero, and a fallen disfigured soldier believe in himself again.

Heroes to me are people who lift others up, and Fern Taylor does this continuously throughout the book eventually lifting herself up as well."

Sassy Southern adds:

"This is beautiful and perfect!!! Now I want to read it all over again. Too Hot for Vegas nailed this!!!"

Published 10/12/2013 (Goodreads)

Aubrey Miller from Into The Light by L.B. Simmons

Hang Le / Via goodreads.com

If coming of age is your genre favorite, then this book is the perfect mix of romance and drama with a tinge of humor. This heroine brings true to life character evolution that leaped off the pages.

Always Listening remarked:

"We see her grow from a rebellious teen with unbreakable walls who is mad at life in general into an adult ready to conquer the world. Her young life was filled with abuse and heartbreak, but throughout the book she softens and her walls slowly start to crumble by allowing herself to feel the emotions she buried so many years ago."

Published 4/23/2014 (Goodreads)

Savannah Carmichael from Vixen and the Vet by Katy Regnery

Marianne Nowicki / Via goodreads.com

Under every genteel southern lady is one determined woman. Our heroine will not take no for an answer and will use anything in her arsenal to get what she wants.

Cuban Capo lets us know:

"Love her!!! It takes a very strong woman to not only stand by a very wounded man (inside and out) but to guide him to be the best he can be."

My Own Bookshelves adds:

"Savannah broke every preconceived notion of a southern heroine. Not that she doesn't try to use some charm, but she isn't willing to give up on her story. And when she is wrong, she acknowledges it with a Say Anything moment."

Published 6/15/2014 (Goodreads)

Kate Sedgwick from Bright Side by Kim Holden

Brandon Hando / Via goodreads.com

Sometimes it is the bright , happy people that sneak attack your sensibilities and just captivate and take over the story.

Sassy Southern confesses:

"This woman steals the show and steals your heart. She teaches each of us what the power of love is and how to live life to its fullest with grace and dignity."

Too Hot for Vegas adds:

"She doesn't just look on the bright side, she lives there"

"This book makes you want to be a better person while teaching us about selflessness and inspiring readers to perform random acts of kindness.

"Do Epic" and "You are Brave" are a couple phrases from Bright Side that are tattooed on people's bodies around the world. How inspiring is that?"

Published 7/4/2014 (Goodreads)

Layana (Lana) Fairmont from Black Lies by Alessandra Torre

SK Hartley / Via goodreads.com

Looking for a story that will have you spinning once you are finished? Well, our heroine tells her part in a desperate deception that will have you admiring her strength in the end.

The Godmother gives us:

"Lana knows what she wants out of life, unfortunately, it takes two men for her to get the full package. Strong-willed, loyal, and self-confident, Lana is not afraid to go after what she wants. And she wants the stability and love that Brant offers, combined with the hot sex and dirty talk she gets from Lee. She wants to have her cake and eat it too, but once you know all there is to know about Lana Fairmont, you'll want to serve it to her on a silver platter. Don't judge a book by it's cover? No, don't judge a woman by the choices she's forced to make in the name of happiness."

Published 8/14/2014 (Goodreads)

Eden Everson from Becoming Calder and Finding Eden by Mia Sheridan

Mia Sheridan / Via goodreads.com

This heroine does not care that what she feels is forbidden. The reader is enthralled by this sweet girl but it's her strength that had us gobbling up this book too quickly.

Titi Is Awesome proclaims:

"I love her warrior spirit, never gave up even when it seemed all hope was lost."

Published 10/5/14 (Goodreads)

Ivy Gleason from Deep Down by Brenda Rothert

Regina Wamba, Mae I Designs / Via goodreads.com

Overcoming difficult experiences can be a true character builder. This heroine blew our readers socks off by conquering the unthinkable.

Cuban Capo tells us:

"Ivy is a girl, that given the circumstances, is forced to become a woman and deal with things no girl her age should be dealing with. But what I loved the most about Ivy's character and the way she is portrayed, is her inner strength, her desire to give her son a good life, to give herself a second chance, to start over, to refuse to become a victim. This girl is a warrior, a survivor, with a heart of gold."

Sassy Southern adds:

"To me Ivy was the definition of hope and strength. I think this quote sums her up ... " ... not everyone was inherently good, there were other people whose goodness was so strong it outshone the bad."

Published 5/5/2015 (Goodreads)

Jessica Day/Jillian Knight from (Jack & Jill Trilogy) End of Day, Middle of Knight, Dawn of Forever by Jewel E Ann

Sarah Hansen, Okay Creations / Via goodreads.com

Are you the type of reader who needs their heart to pound and be completely submersed in each twist? This heroine's journey to reinvent herself had readers on the edge of their tablets.

Bay Lover says:

"She is A. Maze. Ing!!! She is Tough, smart, funny ...beautiful"

"...no bra, lace panties, and red rain boots.” Sarge straightened with a stiff air of readiness. “I see. Was anyone else outside witnessing it?” Cage grinned. “Oh yes. It was like the second coming of Christ. The women gasped, nearly fainting, and the men…” Cage winked with an easy nod “…well, a part of them was most likely resurrected." "

Warrior Nurse shouts:

"YES! 100%"

Published 8/14/2015 (Goodreads)

Izzy Gallo from Resist Me by Chelle Bliss

Melissa Gill MG Designs / Via goodreads.com

Do you want to see an alpha man get his ass kicked? Well, this heroine stands up - she refuses to take a sit in the corner for an answer.

Aussie Hockey Recruiter says:

"Baby sister to 4 very overprotective brothers but she takes no SH*T from anyone especially her brothers, she knows what she wants and she does what she needs to get and she can curse with the best of them."

Published 8/15/2015 (Goodreads)

Aspen Black from Mother Before Wife by Melissa Brown

Regina Wamba / Via goodreads.com

We offer you a chance to meet a mother who is one of the strongest heroines you will ever meet in this captivating story.

Titi is Awesome wants readers to know:

"An incredible strong woman!!! Although she grew up to listen and obey the prophet and is conflicted about going against him, the moment she finds out her children are at risk she sacrifices everything in order to save them and give them a better future."

#1 Braves Fan adds:

"Absolutely! Talk about doing whatever's necessary for your children. What Titi said I think that's a great way to put it!"

Published 2/4/2016 (Goodreads)

Faith McMann from Furious, Outrage and Wrath (trilogy) by T. R. Ragan

Rex Bonomelli / Via goodreads.com

What happens when the heroine comes home to a nightmare and then bestows havoc on those who created it? Look no further than this story featuring a determined woman.

Bonny Book Lass summed up:

"Her husband is murdered in front of her, her children are taken and she is left for dead. She earns the name Furious at anger management due to a disagreement with a police officer over how the search for her children is being handled. Faith is a fearless mother willing to take anyone down in the mission to find her children and bring them home. I loved her 💓 P. S. she has a friend called Rage who also kicks ass :D"

Published 3/22/2016 (Goodreads)

Callie Roland from Night Shifts Black by Alyson Santos

Era Media Co. / Via goodreads.com

Our heroine is a survivor in her own right and just trying to make her way through life. Watching her use that strength is what compelled our readers to recommend this title.

Always Listening states:

"I loved that despite her own messed up past she helped pull Luke out of his depression. She was fierce and relentless on her mission to make him understand his worth. I love how she loved him back to life <3."

Published 3/22/2016 (Goodreads)

Lily Bloom from It Ends With Us by Colleen Hoover

Colleen Hoover / Via goodreads.com

Everyone faced with making tough decisions needs to find strength by example. Told in our heroine's POV, this book delivers gritty, powerful and hopeful.

Glitter Gulch Queen explains:

"It's really hard to gush about Lily without giving the story away. Lily is strong, even when she feels weak. She is smart, fierce and protective. It was so easy to put myself in her place, and it makes me admire the choices she made even more."

Published 8/2/16 (Goodreads)

Clare Noir from Transfer by Aly Martinez

Hang Le / Via goodreads.com

Are you after a well-written heroine with so much to lose if she fails to protect? Our readers devoured the pages of this suspenseful story.

Desert Bookworm remarked:

"To me Clare does the impossible. I hope as a mother I would be as selfless and brave as Clare. Throughout this book she shows again and again a willingness to protect her daughter at all costs! This heroine is a must read in my book!"

Published 9/27/2016 (Goodreads)

Rodel Emerson from Mists of the Serengeti by Leylah Attar

Hang Le / Via goodreads.com

When tragic events bring our couple together, the heroine does not take a back seat to the story but center stage by her strength of character.

Euphoria in Reading enlightened us with:

"One of the strongest heroines I've come across in a long time. Because of a tragic event, she took on a dangerous cause much bigger than herself. She's brave, strong and never lost her humanity. Even though she was broken inside, she opened her heart to a new way of life and found she could still love again."

Published 1/31/2017 (Goodreads)

Jillian Martel from The Hard Truth About Sunshine by Sawyer Bennett

Sawyer Bennett / Via goodreads.com

It is not always the loudest person the group that has the most to say. This heroine gives it to you straight and honest but without the 'ouch'.

Sassy Southern says:

"Jillian is perceived as this happy-go-lucky, kind and meek individual. But she is so much more. She is a warrior, a friend, a confidant, and a champion of those who need her most. Truly one of the bravest female leads I've ever read."

Everyone on our panel resounded with a "Yes! So True!"

Published 3/28/2017 (Goodreads)

Calliah from Parasight by ES Carter

How do you find beauty and poetry in the darkness? You venture here with this incredible heroine.

Bonny Book Lass recounts:

"Going back into the den of those who had traumatized her since childhood. And being such a light and good person in spite of all that she had been through."

My Own Bookshelves adds:

"Calliah is one of those surprising heroines. Everyone, including the hero, believes her to be frail. She has strength that supersedes our hero's."

Published 4/1/2017 (Goodreads)

My Personal Favorite: Gray Brannon from Ryker by Sawyer Bennett

Cover Design: Lynn Andreozzi / Via goodreads.com

For anyone who knows how tough it is to be the smartest one in the room, add in a hot hockey single dad, and get a book that knocked off all the checkmarks for this reader.

My Own Bookshelves proclaims:

" As a professional woman myself, you have the drive to reach the top of your career ladder. You balance personal life to make sure you do not damage your professional goals. For anyone who has been in Gray’s place you can relate to this character. You are constantly on vigil about how others perceive you all the while trying to make a difference in your chosen vocation. And no kidding, it’s real, the personal relationships suffer those choices. As a reader through this story you get to experience all the trips and slips as Gray navigates the male dominated world of hockey."

Published 9/8/15 (Goodreads)

There is Proof that Women can be the Hero of the Story

source: retropopcult.tumblr.com / Via giphy.com

Hey, we asked our bookfriends for their recommendations. We've narrowed it down to the top favorite leading ladies. And we are always on the look out for new superheroines to fill our TBRs. Please comment with the women who aren't your every day temptress but bring power to the story.

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