In my search for a heroine I love to read (and write!), I turned to Jane Porter books, who allegedly writes intelligent heroines with a great sense of humour. I didn't get past the Amazon reviews. For every 20 or so 5-star reviews, there would be a not-so-good-one calling the heroine whiny, spoiled and irritating.
Linda Howard's heroines vary from the kick-ass female butler in "Dying to Please" to the bad-tempered shallow crybaby in "Mr Perfect".
It was a great loss to the book world when Madeleine Wickham became Sophie Kinsella. Madeleine wrote memorable heroines, quirky and often flawed as human beings yet perfect as book characters and always immensely likable. Sophie's heroines are larger than life but extremely mediocre: after all, there are only so many seconds in a year that I spend thinking about shoes.