Funnily enough I don't have nearly as many favourite female characters as I do male ones. Is it because I seek out particularly strong or ruthless females to like and soft ones I like but never truly get to love? Perhaps I just answered myself.
Allison Sekemoto in Blood of Eden Series by Julie Kagawa, Allison is a strong, ruthless character who will anything and everything to survive including becoming the very thing she hates the most. A vampire. She confronts the world she lives in with such a practical and cold manner you can't help but be in awe when she faces situation most people would crumble under.
Ekaterina "Kate" Daniels in the Kate Daniels Series by Ilona Andrews, Kate is a ruthless, at times bloodthirsty, character who is a skill assassin with a cool head on her shoulders. She kills with no compunction, stares death in the eye and does not blink but makes it pee in its pants and gets together with a guy who is even scarier than she is, and Kate is darn scary folks.
Penryn Young in Angelfall by Susan Ee, Penryn is thrown into a post apocalyptic world with gangs and killer angels stalking the street of the city she lives in. She survives by sheer strength of will and does not flinch in doing what is necessary even when such a thing is unthinkable. Like saving the life of her enemy to get her sister back or killing a murdering angel in cold blood to save herself and her sister. She faces the adversities to life with the kind of unflinching strength that is remarkable.
Eona in the Eon Series by Alison Goodman, Eona is a girl pretending to be a boy in a patriarchal society that looks down on her gender and brutalizes and subjugates it. It is a big theme of the book for Eona to stop denying her womanhood and fully embracing it as that is the source of all her magical powers. Book 2 in the series is especially good as she comes to embrace her powers and becomes the most powerful woman in the land.
Eve Dallas in the In Death Series by J. D. Robb, Eve is a New York police lieutenant who hunts down cold blooded killers. Her no nonsense approach to life and emotions is particularly appealing to me as we see so very few cold blooded women in fiction. Often times the mothering female is the epitome of womanhood and the cold, calculating ones get the shaft. I must say I am really enjoying peeling away at the layers of her character and getting to know her slowly in each installment.
Amelia Hathaway in Mine Till Midnight by Lisa Kleypas, Amelia is a practical young woman who is labelled a spinster because of the conventions of her time. I like her because she takes this offensive label and starts beating people over the head with it. She takes charge of her sibling when her brother goes off the deep end with grief, is opinionated and headstrong and terribly likable and funny at times. She gets seduce and ensnared into marriage by Cam but really who can blame her when a hot guy like that is seducing you?
Catherine Marks in Married by Morning by Lisa Kleypas, Cat is a strait laced woman, I liked how she didn't believe everything she was told, how she questioned everything and tried to choose what was best for her. I liked how she handled her man and was touch by her vulnerabilities.
Evangeline "Evie" Jenner, later on Lady St. Vincent, in Devil In Winter by Lisa Kleypas, Evie is a strong girl, shy and soft spoken but with a core or steel. Once she makes up her mind about something no power on Earth can dissuade her. She makes up her mind that she wants to be with her mortally ill father and knows that for her to succeed she must come out from under her families thumb. The only solution? Marriage to a scoundrel who will anything and everything to keep her away from them for her inheritance. Her unflinching and bold proposition to Sebastian is awe inspiring, she corners him in his home at a late hour and proposes they marry, he gets her money and she gets her freedom. I really liked how when Sebastian tries to bully her she stands her ground and does not let him get his way. She is also a sweet girl, understanding and kind. You can't help but love her.