The best adventure books with women at sea

Who am I?

From the beginning of my reading journey, I wished for more stories about women who were courageous, passionate, and in control of their own destiny. I wanted to write books for female readers who loved characters like Zorro, Robin Hood, and Jack Sparrow, but wanted to see themselves shining through them. In the process of researching, I discovered unforgettable characters like Captain Mabbot and Clare Sullivan. The Legends of Vioria series focuses on such women, who use their wit and strength to navigate the world. It is my hope to continue to write stories that will inspire others just as the books in this list inspired me. 


I wrote...

Windfall

By Shawna Barnett,

Book cover of Windfall

What is my book about?

With a mysterious letter and a stranger threatening to expose her, Liana is blackmailed into attending a royal ball and protecting her counterpart, sheltered Princess Rhian. The pretenses are suspicious enough, but Liana takes the risk in hopes to finally unveil the magic plot that killed her parents and forced her into hiding.

When Liana encounters Rhian’s own lightning-wielding powers, the ball erupts in violence. The sheltered princess falls into the care of Liana—and her band of pirates. On the run, the only safe haven for the Windfall crew to hide is the most dangerous place of all: under the thumb of Liana’s narcissistic, abusive brother-in-law. In order to protect her crew, her family, and naïve Rhian, Liana must demand sacrifices from herself and the people she loves.

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The books I picked & why

Book cover of The True Confessions of Charlotte Doyle

Shawna Barnett Why did I love this book?

The True Confessions of Charlotte Doyle sparked my interest in seafaring tales. As a young reader, I was drawn in by the deeply personal narration of teenage Charlotte as well as the themes of class and gender. Before this book, I didn’t know that girls could be swashbucklers themselves. It was the gateway that my imagination needed to begin writing my own stories.

By Avi,

Why should I read it?

2 authors picked The True Confessions of Charlotte Doyle as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it. This book is for kids age 9, 10, 11, and 12.

What is this book about?

Avi's treasured Newbery Honor Book now with exclusive bonus content!

The True Confessions of Charlotte Doyle joins the Scholastic Gold line, which features award-winning and beloved novels. Includes exclusive bonus content!A Newbery Honor Book* "A thrilling tale, tautly plotted, vividly narrated." --Kirkus Reviews, starred reviewThirteen-year-old Charlotte Doyle is excited to return home from her school in England to her family in Rhode Island in the summer of 1832. But when the two families she was supposed to travel with mysteriously cancel their trips, Charlotte finds herself the lone passenger on a long sea voyage with a cruel captain and a…


Book cover of Grania: She-King of the Irish Seas

Shawna Barnett Why did I love this book?

This fictionalized account of the infamous Grace O’Malley’s life heavily impacted the creation of the main character of Windfall, Captain Liana Foley. I loved how Llywelyn wrote Grace/Grania as a leader, thief, lover, and mother, giving depth to the legendary pirate. She portrays her as equally powerful as she is human.

By Morgan Llywelyn,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Grania as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

Grania is the basis of the new Broadway muscial The Pirate Queen.

Here is an extraordinary novel about real-life Irish chieftain Grace O Malley. From Morgan Llywelyn, bestselling author of Lion of Ireland and the Irish Century novels, comes the story of a magnificent, sixteenth-century heroine whose spirit and passion are the spirit and passion of Ireland itself.

Grania (Gaelic for Grace) is no ordinary female. And she lives in extraordinary times. For even as Grania rises as her clan's unofficial head and breadwinner and learns to love a man, she enters a lifelong struggle against the English forces of…


Book cover of Cinnamon and Gunpowder

Shawna Barnett Why did I love this book?

Eli Brown’s story is told through travelogues. I was inspired by the love story that blooms between the main character, chef Owen Wedgwood, and Captain Mad Hannah Mabbot. Captain Mabbot captures Wedgewood and forces him to cook for her aboard The Flying Rose. The way that Brown tells the story is equally delicious and creative. 

By Eli Brown,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Cinnamon and Gunpowder as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

The year is 1819, and the renowned chef Owen Wedgwood has been kidnapped by a beautiful yet ruthless pirate. He will be spared, Mad Hannah Mabbot tells him, as long as he can conjure an exquisite meal every Sunday from the ship's meager supplies. While Wedgwood attempts to satisfy his captor with feats such as tea-smoked eel and pineapple-banana cider, he realizes that Mabbot herself is under siege. Hunted by a deadly privateer and plagued by a saboteur, she pushes her crew past exhaustion in her search for the notorious Brass Fox. Yet there is a method to Mabbot's madness,…


Book cover of Lady Pirate

Shawna Barnett Why did I love this book?

I read this book when I was looking for inspiration on pirate romance. Instead, Captain Valoree Ainsley’s debacles with her rascal crew, set up the dynamic between Captain Foley and her crew in Windfall. I loved the humor of this book and would highly recommend it for a fun and romantic read. 

By Lynsay Sands,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Lady Pirate as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

Valoree no longer has to masquerade as her murdered brother and scourge the oceans as Captain Red. She no longer has to command his pirate band in a quest to regain his birthright. She has been named heir to Ainsley Castle. But no executor would ever hand over the estate to an unmarried pirate wench and her infamous crew-no matter to whom she'd been born. And the will distinctly states that in order to inherit, Valoree must be married to a nobleman ...and pregnant. Upon learning that, the virgin captain is ready to return to the seas-but her crew has…


Book cover of Captured

Shawna Barnett Why did I love this book?

Captive is another romance with pirates and passion. It’s part of a larger series featuring the LeVeq family. In this story, privateer Dominic LeVeq, frees and falls for slave Clare Sullivan. Soon they become desperate to have each other. I loved the relationship between these two characters and the devotion that develops between them.  

By Beverly Jenkins,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Captured as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

This is a high-stakes historical romance from award-winning romance author Beverly Jenkins.


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The Constant Tower

By Carole McDonnell,

Book cover of The Constant Tower

Carole McDonnell Author Of Wind Follower

New book alert!

Who am I?

Author Armchair anthropologist Asian drama addict Christian Perseverer

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Plus, Carole's 10, and 12-year-old's favorite books.

What is my book about?

This is a multicultural epic fantasy with a diverse cast of characters. Sickly fifteen-year-old Prince Psal, the son of warrior-king Nahas, should have been named Crown Prince of all Wheel Clan lands. But his clan disdains the disabled.

When the mysterious self-moving towers that keep humans safe from the Creator's ancient curse rebel, Psal attempts to find the Constant Tower and break the power of the third moon. Psal must risk losing the little respect his father has for him and face the dangers of the unmaking night to find the Constant Tower and save all of humanity.

The Constant Tower

By Carole McDonnell,

What is this book about?

Sickly fifteen year old Prince Psal, the son of the nature-blessed warrior-king Nahas, should have been named Crown Prince of all Wheel Clan lands. A priest-physician like his friend Ephan, Psal lacks a warrior's heart, yet he desires to earn Nahas's respect and become a clan chief. If he cannot do this, he must escape his clan altogether. But his love for Cassia, the daughter of his father's enemy, and his own weaknesses work against him. When war comes, Psal defends Ktwala and her daughter Mahari, wronged by Nahas, and speaks out against the atrocities his clan commits, further jeopardizing…


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