Leisurely Lit: The Swashbuckling Edition

It’s been a while since my last Leisurely Lit installment, and since it’s summer and a lot of us are going on vacation soon, I thought it would be the perfect time to introduce you to some books that would be perfect for you to bring along on your adventures. I just started watching Black Sails on Starz and am absolutely loving it, so I was inspired to put together the perfect list of YA books that feature everyone’s favorite high seas adventurers…PIRATES. I can’t think of a better theme for summer adventure because once you add pirates to any story it automatically turns into a wild ride. So, grab your best eye patch and start practicing your fiercest “ARRRGGHHH”, because after reading these books you’ll be ready to sail the high seas in search of your very own treasure!

The Gentleman’s Guide To Vice and Virtue by Mackenzie Lee

Henry “Monty” Montague was born and bred to be a gentleman, but he was never one to be tamed. The finest boarding schools in England and the constant disapproval of his father haven’t been able to curb any of his roguish passions—not for gambling halls, late nights spent with a bottle of spirits, or waking up in the arms of women or men.

But as Monty embarks on his Grand Tour of Europe, his quest for a life filled with pleasure and vice is in danger of coming to an end. Not only does his father expect him to take over the family’s estate upon his return, but Monty is also nursing an impossible crush on his best friend and traveling companion, Percy.

Still it isn’t in Monty’s nature to give up. Even with his younger sister, Felicity, in tow, he vows to make this yearlong escapade one last hedonistic hurrah and flirt with Percy from Paris to Rome. But when one of Monty’s reckless decisions turns their trip abroad into a harrowing manhunt that spans across Europe, it calls into question everything he knows, including his relationship with the boy he adores.


I just finished this one last night and while Pirates are but a small portion of the story, it’s such an amazing part that I just had to include this book in my list. Seriously, if you haven’t gotten your hands on a copy make sure you get one NOw!

Blackhearts by Nicole Castroman

Blackbeard the pirate was known for striking fear in the hearts of the bravest of sailors. But once he was just a young man who dreamed of leaving his rigid life behind to chase adventure in faraway lands. Nothing could stop him—until he met the one girl who would change everything.

Edward “Teach” Drummond, son of one of Bristol’s richest merchants, has just returned from a year-long journey on the high seas to find his life in shambles. Betrothed to a girl he doesn’t love and sick of the high society he was born into, Teach dreams only of returning to the vast ocean he’d begun to call home. There’s just one problem: convincing his father to let him leave and never come back.

Following her parents’ deaths, Anne Barrett is left penniless and soon to be homeless. Though she’s barely worked a day in her life, Anne is forced to take a job as a maid in the home of Master Drummond. Lonely days stretch into weeks, and Anne longs for escape. How will she ever realize her dream of sailing to Curaçao—where her mother was born—when she’s stuck in England?

From the moment Teach and Anne meet, they set the world ablaze. Drawn to each other, they’re trapped by society and their own circumstances. Faced with an impossible choice, they must decide to chase their dreams and go, or follow their hearts and stay.


I absolutely love this take on the pirate blackbeard’s origin story, featuring the fierce and determined Anne as the perfect foil to frustrated dreamer, blackbeard. The follow up book, Blacksouls, is just as amazing as the first book and together they are a perfect summer binge read.


Daughter of the pirate King by Tricia Levenseller

There will be plenty of time for me to beat him soundly once I’ve gotten what I came for.

Sent on a mission to retrieve an ancient hidden map—the key to a legendary treasure trove—seventeen-year-old pirate captain Alosa deliberately allows herself to be captured by her enemies, giving her the perfect opportunity to search their ship.

More than a match for the ruthless pirate crew, Alosa has only one thing standing between her and the map: her captor, the unexpectedly clever and unfairly attractive first mate, Riden. But not to worry, for Alosa has a few tricks up her sleeve, and no lone pirate can stop the Daughter of the Pirate King.


This book manages to check off all the boxes you want when looking for an addictive read filled with action, adventure and some swoons. I absolutely loved the main character, Alosa. She’s sassy, feisty…and STRONG

Song of the Current by Sarah Tolcser

Caroline Oresteia is destined for the river. For generations, her family has been called by the river god, who has guided their wherries on countless voyages throughout the Riverlands. At seventeen, Caro has spent years listening to the water, ready to meet her fate. But the river god hasn’t spoken her name yet—and if he hasn’t by now, there’s a chance he never will.

Caro decides to take her future into her own hands when her father is arrested for refusing to transport a mysterious crate. By agreeing to deliver it in exchange for his release, Caro finds herself caught in a web of politics and lies, with dangerous pirates after the cargo—an arrogant courier with a secret—and without the river god to help her. With so much at stake, Caro must choose between the life she always wanted and the one she never could have imagined for herself.

From debut author Sarah Tolcser comes an immersive and romantic fantasy set along the waterways of a magical world with a headstrong heroine determined to make her mark.


I have yet to read “Song of the Current” but you better believe it’s on my bookshelf just begging for me to grab it! I’ve heard some pretty good things, so I have a feeling it will be sooner rather than later.

The Girl from Everywhere by Heidi Heilig

Nix has spent her entire life aboard her father’s ship, sailing across the centuries, across the world, across myth and imagination.

As long as her father has a map for it, he can sail to any time, any place, real or imagined: nineteenth-century China, the land from One Thousand and One Nights, a mythic version of Africa. Along the way they have found crewmates and friends, and even a disarming thief who could come to mean much more to Nix.

But the end to it all looms closer every day.

Her father is obsessed with obtaining the one map, 1868 Honolulu, that could take him back to his lost love, Nix’s mother. Even though getting it—and going there—could erase Nix’s very existence.

For the first time, Nix is entering unknown waters.

She could find herself, find her family, find her own fantastical ability, her own epic love.

Or she could disappear.


Here’s another one I still need to read. This one came out wayyyyy back in February of 2016 so it’s been sitting on a shelf staring at me for over a year. I’m embarrassed to admit it’s been sitting that long since I’ve also heard great things about it.

Have you read any of these pirate tales or know of any I should add to the list. Share your thoughts in the comments below.


2 comments for “Leisurely Lit: The Swashbuckling Edition

  1. Annie

    Ooh, SO MANY PIRATE BOOKS. Thank you for making this list!!

  2. This is such a great list and I love the graphic!! I still need to read The Girl From Everywhere and Blackhearts. And you know I loved Daughter of the Pirate King especially!

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