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Ana and Thea are two of the most well-respected and thoughtful Speculative Fiction book bloggers on the block and remain personal favorites of ours here at Lady Business. They blog regularly at The Book Smugglers.

First of all, thank you Ana, Jodie and Renay for inviting us to be part of this great event. As you know we are voracious readers of Speculative Fiction and we have been following the conversations for the past months about female representation (or lack of) in Science Fiction and Fantasy, AKA, the Ladies Are Missing. Yes, they are. Yes, there are less women writing in these genres and the ones that are, are reviewed less frequently, or completely ignored (the Unknown Syndrome as our hostesses pointed out earlier this week). But you know what? There are a LOT of cool, under-appreciated stories being written by women RIGHT THIS MOMENT.

So, here we are. Our mission is to list some of our favourite stories written by ladies with ladies as protagonists. YOUR mission is to read and talk more about these books so that MOARS will get published.

Without further ado, we present The Book Smuggler’s Most Excellent (and Non-Exhaustive) List of Awesome SF Books Written by Ladies about Ladies. (Also, please note that we've tried to focus on books that are less known or a bit older — so no Suzanne Collins here!)

The Song of the Lioness Quartet by Tamora Pierce (http://www.goodreads.com/book/show/492490.The_Song_of_the_Lioness_Quartet)
Young adult, Fantasy

Why read it: Tamora Pierce is the Godmother of YA Fantasy with strong heroines. Alanna is a cornerstone of many a young girl's growing up, as she switches places with her twin brother and trades a life of magery for a sword. Or at least…that's how it all begins.

The Books of Bayern by Shannon Hale (http://www.goodreads.com/series/41718-the-books-of-bayern)
Young adult, Fantasy

Why read it: The Books of Bayern all feature a strong female protagonist (you can argue about your favorite heroine with friends) and weave magic and romance with the themes of responsibility and growing up. These are a must-read for any lover of YA fantasy.

The Sevenwaters Series by Juliet Marillier (http://www.julietmarillier.com/books/daughteroftheforest.html)
Adult, Fantasy

Why read it: Because no one, male or female, does Celtic fantasy as well as Ms. Marillier. Lyrical prose, alternately heartwarming and heartbreaking, the Sevenwaters Saga is the story of a family in the wild, magical woods of Ireland and the evils they face.

The Kushiel's Legacy Series by Jacqueline Carey (http://www.jacquelinecarey.com/books.htm)
Adult, Fantasy

Why read it: One of Thea's favorite authors, Jacqueline Carey is a master of worldbuilding, courtly politics, destiny, and desire (in all its forms). The Kushiel's Legacy books are epic in scope, and span three protagonists in three separate trilogies. For the fan of fantasy that isn't squeamish.

Mercy Thompson books by Patricia Briggs (http://www.patriciabriggs.com/books/)
Adult, Urban Fantasy

Why read it: Mercedes Thompson is the best Urban Fantasy heroine around. That's a bold statement, but we're making it. Mercy isn't superpowered or supersexy — she's just who she is. And she knows that, is cool with it, and uses her brain to her advantage. It doesn't get any better than that.

The Hero series by Moira J Moore (http://www.moirajmoore.com/books.html)
Adult, Urban Fantasy

Why read it: Largely underread, the Hero series by Moira J. Moore is hilarious and deceptively lighthearted at first. Detailing the relationship between a "Shield" (Lee) and her "Source" (Taro), and narrated in Lee's wry, no-nonsense voice, the Hero books deserve a lot more attention than they get. (That's probably because of the hideous covers — but you know how the old adage goes, so don't you be judging!)

Anything by Marjorie Liu (http://marjoriemliu.com/index.php?/main/)
Adult, Urban Fantasy, Paranormal Romance, Comics

Why read it: Marjorie Liu is a wonderful, seriously good writer of Urban Fantasy (her Hunter Kiss series), Paranormal Romance (her Dirk and Steele series) AND Comic books (she writes for MARVEL'S X-Men universe). Cool worlds, great heroines, her books have it all.

The Guardians series by Meljean Brook (http://meljeanbrook.com/books/the-guardian-series)
Adult, Paranormal Romance

Why read it: Meljean Brook's Guardian series is one of the best Paranormal Romance series out there at the moment. And if you just turned your nose up: we don't understand the bad rep that PNR gets, as it is simply Fantasy with a focus on romance. The worldbuilding of the Guardian series is well thought-out. Each book features a different pairing with incredible heroines. Start with Demon Angel and go from there. Be ready for the scorching hot sexy-times.

Anything by Linnea Sinclair (http://www.linneasinclair.com/books.html)
Adult, Science Fiction Romance

Why read it: We always wonder why, whenever we see lists around of Science Fiction written by women, there is always a distinct lack of Science Fiction Romance (actually, no we don't really wonder. We know it is because of the "Romance" part of the equation that turns people off). There are a whole bunch of ladies writing it right now and you can find loads of good recommendations here. ANYWAYS, Linnea Sinclair is one of the best and we loved all of her books: they are fun, romantic and feature awesome leading ladies. Our favourite is possibly Captain Chasidah “Chaz” Bergren, the heroine of Gabriel's Ghost and Shades of Dark. And for more Science Fiction Romance, this link (http://www.thegalaxyexpress.net/p/sfr-authors.html) will take you to a list of authors per decade.

The Hundred Thousand Kingdoms by N. K. Jemisin (http://nkjemisin.com/books/the-inheritance-trilogy/)
Adult, Fantasy

Why read it: Before you go any further, read this article by N. K. Jemisin titled "The Limitations of Womanhood in Fantasy (and everywhere else, but for now, fantasy)" . It is a great article and it gives an indication on what to expect from her books and her heroines. The Hundred Thousand Kingdoms was one of the best releases of 2010: great world, fantabulous heroine.

Cold Magic, Jaran by Kate Elliott (http://www.kateelliott.com/default.asp?cmsnumber=1&page_id=71)
Adult, Fantasy, Science Fiction

Why read it: Kate Elliott is another author that we feel is criminally underread and underappreciated. The first book in her new trilogy, Cold Magic, may start off seeming like just another fantasy novel — but believe us when we say that there's a nice twist that will grab your attention about a third into the book. And Jaran is a science fiction novel that runs the gamut from alien colonization to romance. You want versatility? Look no further.

Cordelia's Honor by Lois McMaster Bujold (http://www.goodreads.com/book/show/61900.Cordelia_s_Honor)
Adult, Science Fiction

Why read it: Lois McMaster Bujold is renowned for her Miles Vorkosigan books (which are FANTASTIC and we highly recommend to readers of all different persuasions). But did you know she also wrote books about Miles' mother? The lovely Cordelia Naismith is a fabulous heroine in her own right — so go ahead and read Shards of Honor and Barrayar, and then go on to devour the Miles books. You won't regret it.

And this is it from us. These are some of our favourite series and books and we highly recommend them.

How about you? Any favourites you'd like to share?


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Ira is an illustrator and gamer who decided that disagreeing with everyone would be a good way to spend their time on the internet. more? » twitter icon tumblr icon AO3 icon

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