Girls Rule…Boys Drool…or not?

A theme I have noticed in a lot of the books I have been reading lately is the development of strong alpha female characters.  There aren’t as many stories that focus on the female character being the damsel in distress. There are a lot of female ass-kicking characters now then there ever were.  But, that being said there are quite a few book series that feature very overly Alpha male characters.  You are hard pressed to find many series that balance the two well.  A series in which both are Alphas and work well together.

Female characters such as Anita Blake, Charley Davidson and Mackayla Lane, to name a few, all have very similar character requirements.  They are tough, witty, strong both of character and physically and yet still very feminine.  They are exquisite examples of Girl Power.

Anita Blake, of Laurell K. Hamilton’s Anita Blake Series,  is also known as the vampire hunter.  Her series revolves around her but also include a male counterpart, Jean Claude.  The stories illustrate her strengths, weaknesses and her ability to over come them herself not relying souly on Jean Claude to bail her out. The story between her and Jean Claude also does not lead to them automatically jumping into bed.  She sticks to her guns even though there is definite chemistry there.  She is not the shrinking violet or damsel in distress.  In a fight you wouldn’t mind having Anita Blake at your back.

Charley Davidson, of Darynda Jones’ Charley Davidson Series, is also known as the Grim Reaper.  She is a part-time private detective who can communicate with the dead because she is the light that spirits must go into.  She is one of the funniest characters I’ve read in a long time.  She also has a male counterpart in Reyes.  Now, she and Reyes have had hot, sweaty sex but she still keeps her wits about her and still questions the Son of Satan’s  (Reyes) motives.  Charley is definitely headstrong and no non-sense but very relatable.

Mackayla Lane, from Karen Marie Moning’s Fever Series, is our most human of the three female characters I chose.  She does have special powers but it’s not really something most people would want to have.  She can see the Fae without their glamour.  Which means all the awful and ugly facades come crashing at her.  The only reason she learns of these powers is because she leaves her very isolated Georgia home town to Dublin where the Fae are very prominent.  It is here she meets one of the best Alpha males that has been written, Jerricho Barrons.  Mackayla isn’t always the strong character she develops into.  It is her situation, determination and Barrons incessant bullying and pestering that drives her be become what she needs to be.

Since we have covered the female characters we must give props to some of the very strong male characters out there. But, I find that many of the male characters are parts of groups. The Black Dagger Brotherhood and the Lords of the Underworld are some of the strongest male characters that are currently placed on the bookshelves.  They know how to be both sensitive and totally take someone out for messing with their mates.  These men are all Alpha males even though there are leaders in both groups.

J.R. Ward’s Black Dagger Brotherhood contains ALL strong characters.  Each one of them must overcome obstacles from Vishous and his need for pain, Rhage and his inner monster, Zsadist and his tormented past and John Matthew and his human past to name only a few.  But, with overcoming these problems whether physical or mental allow for them to grow as characters and still kick ass and show the Lessers who is boss.  These males take care of theirs and no one better ever threaten what is theirs or face the dire consequences.

Gena Showalter’s the Lords of the Underworld are a bit more complicated considering most of them are two entities.  One half is the man and the other half is the demon they house.  These Lords face similar issues like that of the Brotherhood except they are constantly fighting themselves. Most of the Lords must do things like consistently lie, win every challenge or cut themselves or they are in immense pain.  These cursed men fight those who are trying to destroy them while still protecting their mates.  These men, like the BDB, are strong-willed Alpha males.

I have covered both strong female and male characters.  There are only a few series’ that offer partnerships that allow for both to be Alphas or dominant.  Cat and Bones from Jeaniene Frost’s Nighthuntress series and Elena and Raphael from Nalini Singh’s Guild Hunter Series are two that stick out to me.  Both of these strong couples support yet protect each other.  Both allow for dominance and strength in each other while accomplishing their goals.  This type of relationship is rarely seen in novels.  I believe it’s probably just very difficult to write.  It is much easier to have one central character be the dominant.

All this being said, I still am at a loss to which I prefer.  Whether I like the strong, witty, fun female protagonist or the domineering, overly protective/sensitive male protagonist, I am unsure.  But, if those two get together I know they most likely will have fireworks and really sexy love scenes.  And, who doesn’t like a good sex scene?

What do you prefer, A Female Alpha or a Male Alpha? 

Feet in the Sand and a Good Book in Hand (My Top 10 Summer Reads)

Since it is coming up on vacationing season I figured I would lay out my top 10 books I want to read while on vacation or just throughout the summer.   For me it’s probably more likely hanging out by the baby pool, but either way I have some reading to do.

I have chosen a wide variety from Non-fiction to Young Adult.  When I was coming up with my list I actually felt like it was a bit daunting especially when I have plans to do some re-reading. But, that is another post entirely.  I hope you enjoy my choices.  It wasn’t easy to narrow my long list down to just 10 but I think these are a good variety to keep me entertained while trying to avoid getting splashed.

10.  The Very Picture of You by Isabel Wolff-At thirty-five, Gabriella “Ella” Graham is a successful portrait artist in London. She captures the essential truth in each of her subjects’ faces—a tilt of the chin, a glint in the eye—and immortalizes it on canvas. But closer to home, Ella finds the truth more elusive. Her father abandoned the family when she was five, and her mother has remained silent on the subject ever since. Ella’s sister, Chloe, is engaged to Nate, an American working in London, but Ella suspects that he may not be so committed. Then, at Chloe’s behest, Ella agrees to paint Nate’s portrait. (see more at www.bn.com)

9.  The Murder of the Century by Paul Collins-On Long Island, a farmer finds a duck pond turned red with blood. On the Lower East Side, two boys playing at a pier discover a floating human torso wrapped tightly in oilcloth. Blueberry pickers near Harlem stumble upon neatly severed limbs in an overgrown ditch. Clues to a horrifying crime are turning up all over New York, but the police are baffled: There are no witnesses, no motives, no suspects. (see more at www.bn.com)

8.  Once a Witch by Carolyn MacCullough-Tamsin Greene comes from a long line of witches, and she was supposed to be one of the most Talented among them. But Tamsin’s magic never showed up. Now seventeen, Tamsin attends boarding school in Manhattan, far from her family. But when a handsome young professor mistakes her for her very Talented sister, Tamsin agrees to find a lost family heirloom for him. The search—and the stranger—will prove to be more sinister than they first appeared, ultimately sending Tamsin on a treasure hunt through time that will unlock the secret of her true identity, unearth the sins of her family, and unleash a power so vengeful that it could destroy them all. This is a spellbinding display of storytelling that will exhilarate, enthrall, and thoroughly enchant.

7. The Irish Princess by Karen Harper-Born into a first family of Ireland, with royal ties on both sides, Elizabeth Fitzgerald-known as Gera-finds her world overturned when Henry VIII imprisons her father, the Earl of Kildare, and brutally destroys her family. Torn from the home she loves, her remaining family scattered, Gera dares not deny the refuge offered her in England’s glittering royal court. There she must navigate ever-shifting alliances even as she nurtures her secret desire for revenge. From County Kildare’s lush green fields to London’s rough-and-tumble streets and the royal court’s luxurious pageantry, The Irish Princess follows the journey of a daring woman whose will cannot be tamed, and who won’t be satisfied until she restores her family to its rightful place in Ireland.

6. Bedding Lord Ned by Sally MacKenzie-Determined to find a husband, Miss Eleanor “Nell” Bowman attends a ball put on by the Duchess of Greycliffe, fondly referred to as the Duchess of Love. But she roundly dismisses the suitors the matchmaking hostess has invited on her behalf. For it’s the duchess’s dashing son Ned, Lord Edward, who long ago captured Nell’s heart—and roused her desire. All it takes is a pair of conveniently misplaced silky red bloomers to set the handsome widower’s gaze on this unusual girl who is clearly more than meets the eye…

5.  Once Burned by Jeaniene Frost (June 26, 2012)-After a tragic accident scarred her body and destroyed her dreams, Leila never imagined that the worst was still to come: a terrifying ability to channel electricity and to see a person’s darkest secrets through a single touch. Leila is doomed to a life of solitude…until creatures of the night kidnap her, forcing her to reach out with a telepathic distress call to the world’s most infamous vampire..(see more at www.bn.com)

4.  Out of Oz by Gregory Maguire-Once peaceful and prosperous, the spectacular Land of Oz is knotted with social unrest: The Emerald City is mounting an invasion of Munchkinland, Glinda is under house arrest, and the Cowardly Lion is on the run from the law. And look who’s knocking at the door. It’s none other than Dorothy. Yes. That Dorothy. (see more at www.bn.com)

3.  The Watchers by John Steele-Beneath Lausanne Cathedral, in Switzerland, there is a secret buried before time began, something unknown to angels and men, until now…

Marc Rochat watches over the city at night from the belfry of the cathedral. He lives ina world of shadows and “beforetimes” and imaginary beings.
Katherine Taylor, call girl and daydreamer, is about to discover that her real-life fairy tale is too good to be true.
Jay Harper, private detective, wakes up in a crummy hotel room with no memory. When the telephone rings and he’s offered a job, he knows he has no choice but to accept.

Three lives, one purpose: save what’s left of paradise before all hell breaks loose.

2.  The Laughing Corpse by Laurell K. Hamilton-The novels of New York Times bestselling author Laurell K. Hamilton take readers into the dangerous life of Anita Blake, animator and vampire hunter—a woman as good at raising the dead as she is at slaying the undead. Now, a creature from beyond the grave is tearing a swath of murder through St. Louis. And Anita will learn that there are some secrets better left buried—and some people better off dead…(see more at www.bn.com)

1.  Shadow of Night by Deborah Harkness (July 10, 2012)-Deborah Harkness exploded onto the literary scene with her debut novel, A Discovery of Witches, Book One of the magical All Souls Trilogy and an international publishing phenomenon. The novel introduced Diana Bishop, Oxford scholar and reluctant witch, and the handsome geneticist and vampire Matthew Clairmont; together they found themselves at the center of a supernatural battle over an enchanted manuscript known as Ashmole 782.

Now, picking up from A Discovery of Witches’ cliffhanger ending, Shadow of Night plunges Diana and Matthew into Elizabethan London, a world of spies, subterfuge, and a coterie of Matthew’s old friends, the mysterious School of Night that includes Christopher Marlowe and Walter Raleigh. Here, Diana must locate a witch to tutor her in magic, Matthew is forced to confront a past he thought he had put to rest, and the mystery of Ashmole 782 deepens. 

***All overviews came from www.bn.com.

For additional information on the above books you can go to Barnes and Noble, Amazon or any other Book retailer.  For more books on my To Be Read list you can go to my Goodreads list.

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