The Books

Our Newest Book:

Ahoy, mateys! New York Times bestselling authors Cynthia Hand, Brodi Ashton, and Jodi Meadows ARRRRR back with a fantastical, piratical historical fantasy remix that marries the story of The Little Mermaid with the life and times of infamous lady pirate Mary Read.

Don’t call this mermaid “little”—call her “captain,” unless you want to walk the plank.

Mary is in love with the so-called prince of Charles Town, except he doesn’t love her back. Which is inconvenient. Since she’s a mermaid, being brokenhearted means she’ll—poof!—turn into sea-foam.

But instead, Mary finds herself pulled out of the sea and up onto a pirate ship. To survive, she joins them. But Mary isn’t willing to just sing the yo-ho-hos. She wants the pirate life, all of it, and she’s ready to make a splash . . . by becoming captain. But when Blackbeard dies suddenly, Mary has a chance to become so much more: Pirate King . . . or Queen. She won’t let anyone stop her—not Blackbeard’s cute son, not her best friend from back under the sea who’s having a bit too much fun with his new legs, and certainly not everyone who says she can’t be a pirate just because she’s a girl. She may not be the best man for the job, but she’ll definitely prove that she’s worth her salt.

With lively wit and a royally clever sense of humor, Cynthia Hand, Brodi Ashton, and Jodi Meadows continue their campaign to turn history on its head in this YA fantasy that’s perfect for fans of The Princess Bride and A Gentleman’s Guide to Vice and Virtue.

Coming wherever books are sold on August 20, 2024!


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My Imaginary Mary:

It’s aliiiiiiiive! New York Times bestselling authors of My Lady Jane are back with the electric, poetic, and (almost) historical tale of the one and only Mary Shelley.

Mary may have inherited the brilliant mind of her late mother, Mary Wollstonecraft, but she lives a drab life above her father’s bookstore, waiting for an extraordinary idea that’ll inspire a work worthy of her parentage—and impress her rakishly handsome (and super-secret) beau, Percy Shelley.

Ada Lovelace knows a thing or two about superstar parents, what with her dad being Lord Byron, the most famous poet on Earth. But her passions lie far beyond the arts—in mechanical engineering, to be exact. Alas, no matter how precise Ada’s calculations, there’s always a man willing to claim her ingenious ideas as his own.

Pan, a.k.a. Practical Automaton Number One, is Ada's greatest idea yet: a machine that will change the world, if only she can figure out how to make him truly autonomous . . . or how to make him work at all.

When fate connects our two masterminds, Mary and Ada learn that they are fae—magical people with the ability to make whatever they imagine become real. But when their dream team results in a living, breathing, thinking PAN, Mary and Ada find themselves hunted by a mad scientist who won't stop until he finds out how they made a real boy out of spare parts.

With comic genius and a truly electrifying sense of adventure, Cynthia Hand, Brodi Ashton, and Jodi Meadows continue their campaign to turn the classics on their head in this YA fantasy that’s perfect for fans of Frankenstein and The Gentleman’s Guide to Vice and Virtue.

Get it from:

HarperCollins / Amazon / Barnes & Noble / BooksAMillion / iBooks (through the iTunes store) / Indiebound 

And here's the Goodreads page.

Nice Things People Are Saying About The Book:

In 18-something-or-other, Mary Godwin, daughter of the late activist-writer Mary Wollstonecraft, aches to pen an epic tale. Across town, Ada Byron is furious when inventor Charles Babbage openly claims her mathematical work as his own. Enter Miss Stamp, a fae godmother who brings the girls together and teaches them how to use their powers of creation. Thus empowered, Ada constructs Practical Automaton Number One (aka PAN), made of a meticulously calculated clockwork system—that is, the first-ever computer program. However, one dark and stormy night, when lightning and Mary’s untrained fae abilities collide, PAN comes life and falls head over heels for Mary. Meanwhile, physicist Giovanni Aldini gets wind of PAN’s existence and, desperate to wrest the girls’ life-giving secret from them, surreptitiously follows Mary and Ada to Switzerland, where they’ve located Lord Byron and poet Percy Shelley. Subterfuge and a shockingly satisfying climax at last inspire Mary to write a masterpiece. The high-voltage second book of this trilogy headlining historic Marys continues the tradition of being rooted in history while playfully accommodating fantastical elements, fact-bending chronologies, and entertaining anachronisms, including laugh-out-loud references to Monty Python, James Bond, Star Trek’s Borg, The Clash, Pat Benatar, and more. Celebrating women who have made important contributions to STEM and the arts, this creative take on Mary and Ada is electrifying. 

BOOKLIST (starred review!)

When 17-year-olds Ada Lovelace and Mary Shelley née Godwin meet at a party, they become thick as thieves in Ashton, Hand, and Meadows’s (My Contrary Mary) inventive historical fiction collaboration, set in London during the Industrial Revolution. Writer Mary lives a quiet life hopelessly pining after dashing poet Percy Shelley. Meanwhile, Ada spends her time desperately trying to get her robot Pan (aka Practical Automaton Number One) to work. When Mary’s purportedly fae godmother, Miss Stamp, suddenly appears from a previously unknown door inside Mary’s wardrobe, Miss Stamp informs her that she’s been endowed with magical abilities that “can make what we imagine real.” Science-minded Ada is skeptical, until Mary brings Pan to life. Chaos ensues when, following Pan’s animation, mysterious villains come knocking on the girls’ door. The teens’ bitingly clever alternating perspectives, interspersed via an omniscient narrator, occasionally convey historical tidbits in direct asides to the reader—as when setting the time period: “the year 18—mumble mumble (sorry, the exact date is a bit smudged)”—handily rendering a riotous romp through two prominent figures’ imagined—and winningly fantastical—lives. 

PUBLISHER'S WEEKLY (starred review!)

Ada Lovelace and Mary Godwin-better known today as Mary Shelley-combine forces to create a living automaton: a real boy.

It's the year "18-mumble mumble," the timeline smooshed together into an imagined year when both girls are in their late teens. Ada, the abandoned daughter of famous poet Lord Byron, is a mathematical genius who creates delicate clockwork automatons. Mary's the daughter of the late, famed early feminist Mary Wollstonecraft. She's half in love with poet Percy Shelley, her father's mentee, and wonders if she'll ever succeed at writing. The girls become friends when their fae godmother arrives through a hidden door in the back of Mary's wardrobe to school them both on powers they may have inherited. Lo and behold, with Mary's help, Ada's automaton becomes a living-and lovely-boy named Pan. When villains want something from the girls, they take off, along with Pan and Mary's two half sisters, on a romp through Europe. The trio of authors responsible for this entertaining smashup series get better with every book they write. Readers don't have to know the characters' real-life backstories to enjoy this story; for those who do, the parallels are intriguing. The novel effortlessly and entertainingly combines "Cinderella," Frankenstein, The Hunchback of Notre Dame, Pinocchio, and Hamilton, and the ending reminds readers not to underestimate quiet women.

Energetic, clever, and absorbing. 

KIRKUS REVIEWS (starred review!)

My Contrary Mary:

Welcome to Renaissance France, a place of poison and plots, of beauties and beasts, of mice and . . . queens?⠀

Mary is the queen of Scotland and the jewel of the French court. Except when she's a mouse. Yes, reader, Mary is an Eðian (shapeshifter) in a kingdom where Verities rule. It's a secret that could cost her a head—or a tail.⠀

Luckily, Mary has a confidant in her betrothed, Francis. But after the king meets a suspicious end, things at the gilded court take a treacherous turn. Thrust onto the throne, Mary and Francis are forced to navigate a viper's nest of conspiracies, traps, and treason. And if Mary's secret is revealed, heads are bound to roll.⠀

Get it from:

HarperCollins / Amazon / Barnes & Noble / BooksAMillion / iBooks (through the iTunes store) / Indiebound 

And here's the Goodreads page.

My Calamity Jane:

Welcome to 1876 and a rootin’-tootin’ America bursting with gunslingers, outlaws, and garou (aka werewolves). 

JANE (a genuine hero-eene) Calamity’s her name, and garou hunting’s her game—when she’s not starring in Wild Bill’s Traveling Show, that is. She reckons that if a girl wants to be a legend, she should just go ahead and be one.

FRANK (*wolf whistle*) Frank “the Pistol Prince” Butler is the Wild West’s #1 bachelor. He’s also the best sharpshooter on both sides of the Mississippi, but he’s about to meet his match. . . .

ANNIE (get your gun!) Annie Oakley (yep, that Annie) is lookin’ for a job, not a romance, but she can’t deny there’s something about Frank she likes. Really likes. Still, she’s pretty sure that anything he can do, she can do better.

A HAIRY SITUATION After a garou hunt goes south and Jane finds a suspicious-like bite on her arm, she turns tail for Deadwood, where there’s been talk of a garou cure. But things ain’t always what they seem—meaning the gang better hightail it after her before they’re a day late and a Jane short. 

Get it from:

Harper Collins / Amazon / Barnes & Noble / BooksAMillion / iBooks (through the iTunes store) / our nearest independent bookstore through Indiebound

Nice Things People Are Saying About The Book:

It's 1876, and the American West is as wild as it gets. In infamous gunslinger Bill Hickok's Wild Bill's Wild West theatrical traveling show, a no-nonsense girl called Calamity Jane and a smooth-talking boy called Frank Butler travel around, entertaining audiences with tales of their adventures and performing sharpshooter and rodeo tricks. There's one other thing Wild Bill's crew does on the side, and that's hunt werewolves, or garou; in this version of the Wild West, they're all over. When a girl named Annie, bursting with confidence and the sharpshooting talent to back it up, shows up looking for a job in the show, Frank's pretty sure he's met the love of his life—though she may have some prejudices she needs to examine. Then a bite during a garou hunt sends Jane off on what might be a fruitless hunt for a cure, and everyone else on a hunt for Jane. In this third volume in their thematic trilogy (My Lady Jane, 2016; My Plain Jane, 2018), the trio of author-narrators lose absolutely none of their infectious energy. Real historical characters blend seamlessly with fantasy elements, anachronistic pop-culture references (you can thank Annie Oakley for those musical theater nods!), and plenty of narrative asides. Witty and winsome, this rollicking tall tale makes its own rules (naturally), and series readers new and old will be happier for it.
BOOKLIST (starred review!)

The story starts in Cincinnati in 1876 with narrators Calamity Jane, Frank Butler, and Annie Oakley. There are also werewolves (“garou”) that Frank and Jane, with their adoptive father Bill Hickok, hunt while using their traveling show “Wild Bill’s Wild West” as a cover. Things go wrong after Annie tries to join the show and a hunt leaves Jane with a bite and one desperate chance to find a cure in Deadwood. Although many events have changed, the story stays true to the spirit of these real-life historical figures while offering more optimistic endings for many. This is particularly true for Jane, whose character arc includes a sweet queer romance and reimagining her penchant for attracting chaos as an asset. While Jane is the focus, anchoring much of the plot is Annie and Frank’s actual romance from their first shooting competition to their growing respect and eventual partnership onstage. The American West, as seen by white settlers and romanticized for white audiences in popular culture, is inherently problematic. The authors acknowledge this in their omniscient narration and in conversations Annie has with Many Horses and Walks Looking, Lakota sisters whose help and practical advice are crucial to efforts to save Jane before it’s too late. The story explores themes of alliances and tolerance through Annie’s interactions with the garou (though not with the people of color). The acknowledgements include a list of further reading including works that spotlight Native perspectives. 

VERDICT A tall tale offered with caveats, filled with found family, fancy shooting, humor, and adventure.
SCHOOL LIBRARY JOURNAL (starred review!)

A posse of werewolf hunters disguised as a traveling troupe of sharpshooters roam the Old West in search of a particularly vicious werewolf known as the Alpha.

Under the watchful eyes of the paternal Wild Bill Hickok, protagonists Calamity Jane, Frank Butler, and Annie Oakley track the Alpha, all while navigating budding romances and family quarrels. While each teen is dedicated to the collective, they are each driven by their own motivations. Frank, for example, hopes to one day give up werewolf hunting and be a full-time entertainer. Annie—who must convince the group to hire her as a sharpshooter in the show—flees a family that wants to force her into marriage. All Jane wants is to settle down on a plot of land somewhere, far away from prying eyes. As the plot unfolds, readers learn each of the characters’ origin stories—including their deepest secrets. The book’s thrilling plot is driven by a brilliantly clever, collective narratorial voice that frequently intercedes with historical tidbits, witty asides, and political statements ranging from critiquing America’s lack of gun control laws to the shameful genocide and violent displacement of Native Americans. While most of the characters are white, the story does include two Lakota characters and a protagonist who comes out as queer. Full of twists, turns, and laugh-out-loud humor, this tongue-in-cheek feminist alternative history is impossible to put down.

A thrilling alternative history that sparkles with wit and charm.

My Plain Jane:

You may think you know the story. After a miserable childhood, penniless orphan Jane Eyre embarks on a new life as a governess at Thornfield Hall. There, she meets one dark, brooding Mr. Rochester. Despite their significant age gap (!) and his uneven temper (!!), they fall in love—and, Reader, she marries him. (!!!) Or does she? 

Prepare for an adventure of Gothic proportions, in which all is not as it seems, a certain gentleman is hiding more than skeletons in his closets, and one orphan Jane Eyre, aspiring author Charlotte Brontë, and supernatural investigator Alexander Blackwood are about to be drawn together on the most epic ghost hunt this side of Wuthering Heights.

Get it from:

HarperCollins / Amazon / Barnes & Noble / BooksAMillion / iBooks (through the iTunes store) / Indiebound 

And here's the Goodreads page.

Nice Things People Are Saying About The Book:

Mysteries abound on the moors—and not all of them are of this world. When Charlotte Brontë's best friend, Jane Eyre, is offered a job with the Society for the Relocation of Wayward Spirits, Charlotte is dismayed that Jane takes a position as a governess at Thornfield Hall instead. So Charlotte decides that she's the right person for the job, even if she can't see ghosts like Jane can. Nevertheless, she persists, joining her brother and his mentor, Alexander Blackwood, in serving the Society by trying to recruit Jane. Jane, however, has fallen in love with her employer and has no interest in leaving. A domino line of events follows the two white women and friends as they find love, work, ghosts, and strengths they never suspected. Hand, Ashton, and Meadows (My Lady Jane, 2016) offer up a fantastical, tongue-in-cheek plot that manages to both poke fun at and hold in high esteem the novel that provided the inspiration. A healthy dose of feminism and logic offers a contemporary perspective, often through the character of a ghost named Helen who isn't afraid to call out Rochester's patriarchal absurdities—even though most people can't hear her. A passing familiarity with Jane Eyre is beneficial but not necessary for enjoying this book. Reader, it delighted. A fun, supernatural mashup of different literary novels that shines on its own merit. 

This standalone alternate history novel inserts teenaged aspiring author Charlotte Brontë into the world of her own making (with the addition of ghosts) as she chronicles the life of her best friend at Lowood, Jane Eyre, as inspiration for her first novel. Charlotte's authorial ambitions and Jane's plans to become a governess are thwarted when Jane's ability to see ghosts comes to the attention of Alexander Blackwood, an agent for the once-prestigious Society for the Relocation of Wayward Spirits. Determined to help his mentor restore the Society to its past glory, Alexander is keen to recruit Ms. Eyre as an agent-even if it means taking off his ever-present mask and accepting help from the overly eager Ms. Brontë and her screw-up brother. This simple task spirals into a madcap story of ghosts, possession, revenge, and murder as Charlotte, Jane, and Alexander must set aside their differences to solve the mysteries of Thornfield Hall, help the Society (and the ghosts), and maybe even save the King of England in the process. Narrated by Charlotte, Jane, and Alexander, this novel uses Jane Eyre as a loose framework. It humorously blends fact with fiction and offers a gentler, more hopeful outcome for Charlotte, her siblings, and her heroine. VERDICT: A must-read for fans of My Lady Jane or Jane Eyre and a fun alternative for fans of paranormal romances.
SCHOOL LIBRARY JOURNAL (starred review!)

Jane Eyre insists she wants to be a governess, although, really, no one wants to be a governess. When she lands a position at Thornhill, her friend Charlotte Brontë, who would rather be a writer, sees her reluctantly off. When Charlotte learns that her oddball friend Jane can see ghosts and, even more excitingly, has been offered a job by supernatural investigator Alexander Blackwood, she’s more convinced than ever that Jane has made a mistake. People capable of seeing, and therefore hunting, ghosts are disappearing at an alarming rate, and Alexander needs Jane, so he and Charlotte set out to convince her. Only there’s something funny going on at Thornhill. And, quite unfortunately, Jane seems to have fallen for the fairly unappealing and kind of weird master of the house, Mr. Rochester. Despite plentiful references to The Princess Bride, make no mistake: this isn’t just a repeat of its thematic companion My Lady Jane (2016). Instead of a whimsical Tudor romance-adventure, this is a delightfully deadpan deconstruction of a Gothic novel, with a ghost almost no one can see providing the commentary. Marvelously self-aware and almost too clever for its own good, it’s a twisted version of Jane Eyre that will have teens and English teachers alike in stitches. Apologies to the real Charlotte Brontë, but you’ll need extra copies of this one. 
BOOKLIST (starred review!)

Hand, Ashton, and Meadows follow up My Lady Jane (about Lady Jane Gray) with another tongue-in-cheek novel about a famous Jane-this time, Jane Eyre. In this take on the classic, Jane and Charlotte Bronte are good friends from school, and as Jane's story unfolds, Charlotte records every moment of it-at first writing it as a murder mystery, then a romance. Jane can also see ghosts, and the Society for the Relocation of Wayward Spirits determines that she is a rare Beacon (someone who can control ghosts), offering her a high-paying job. The chapters switch among the handsome young Alexander, a member of the Society; Charlotte, who convinces Alexander to give her a temp job (and who falls for Alexander); and Jane, who spurns her job offer, heads off to Thornfield, and falls for Rochester. The authors' prose holds all the flavor of a juicy period novel yet with the addition of numerous, witty asides. The narrative is full of wry humor-at one point, Jane thinks to herself about Rochester, "He was everything she'd ever dreamed about. Tall. Dark. Brooding"-and laugh-out-loud commentary. The authors' affection for their source material is abundantly clear in this clever, romantic farce. 
PUBLISHER'S WEEKLY (starred review!)

A stunningly imagined version of pre-Victorian England, complete with charming ghosts, combines with timeless, laugh-out-loud humor in this retelling of Jane Eyre. This book is a breath of fresh air in the teen genre, with strong heroines, an irresistible yet complex plot, a light smattering of romance, and a gleeful—yet tasteful—abandonment of the fourth wall. I would recommend this book to anyone who is tired of predictable plot twists, cliffhangers, and endings and is looking for a rollicking adventure through a quasi-historically accurate rendition of Jane Eyre’s England (with ghosts added, of course).
Summer 2018 Kids Indie Next Great Reads List

This uproarious, irreverent homage to Jane Eyre features Jane herself as a character alongside Charlotte Brontë, two young women with dismal prospects given their plain looks and sad lack of fortune. The tale begins with a murder, a visit from agents of the Society for the Relocation of Wayward Spirits, and an offer of employment to Jane that might make all the difference for Jane and Charlotte, if only Charlotte can persuade Jane to accept it. Star agent Alexander Blackwood is determined to lure Jane, who can compel ghosts, to their employ, but Jane wants no part in relocating spirits, given that her best friend is in fact a ghost, and she’s also smitten by her current employer, the broody Mr. Rochester. Chapters alternate focus between Jane, Charlotte, and Alexander as the adventure gets more and more harrowing; people aren’t who they seem to be, violence erupts as corruption is ex- posed, and romance threatens good sense. Authorial asides poke fun at both literary and cultural conventions, performing much-needed feminist interventions along the way. That said, the whole story situates itself squarely in an ironic affirmation of romance as a priority and preoccupation of our heroines; yes, dear reader, the struggle is, and always has been, real. While readerly familiarity with Jane Eyre will enhance appreciation of the cleverness of the plot twists and language use, there are enough allusions to other pop-culture referents to make for laugh-out-loud moments even for the uninitiated. This lively romp thus makes a perfect addition to a beach bag.

My Lady Jane

For fans of The Princess Bride comes the comical, fantastical, romantical, (not) entirely true story of Lady Jane Grey.
Lady Jane Grey, sixteen, is about to be married to a total stranger—and caught up in an insidious plot to rob her cousin, King Edward, of his throne. But that’s the least of Jane’s problems. She’s about to become Queen of England. 
Like that could go wrong.


Curious? Try a taste of the book here, by reading the Prologue.

You can also check our Goodreads page here.

The Trailer

Nice Things People Are Saying About The Book:

Hand (the Unearthly series), Ashton (the Everneath series), and Meadows (the Orphan Queen series) clearly had a ball working on this joyous rewrite of the story of Lady Jane Grey and King Edward VI, and readers will have just as much fun with it. The authors follow history to the point of tragedy, then toss it aside to allow love and good to triumph. One significant tweak is the creation of a shape-shifting people called E∂ians, such as Jane’s new husband, Lord Gifford Dudley, who spends his days as a horse and his nights as a man. This version of England is full of E∂ians, and Edward’s power-hungry sister Mary (aka Bloody Mary) is one of the Verities who want to purge the country of them. Alternating third-person narration scrolls smoothly among Edward, Jane, and Gifford in chapters packed with hilarious banter, authorial asides, and polite avoidance of nudity as characters shift into and out of animal forms at inopportune moments. It’s an uproarious historical fantasy that’s not to be missed.
PUBLISHER'S WEEKLY, starred review!

“The Tudors meets Monty Python. Prepare to laugh and gasp and clutch your pearls.” 
Tahereh Mafi, New York Times bestselling author of the Shatter Me series

“History, humor, and unexpected magic come together in this marvelous story.” 
Jessica Day George, author of Silver in the Blood

A "gleefully anachronistic comedy will entertain with its cast of likable heroes and buffoonish villains." KIRKUS REVIEWS

Wacky, irreverent, and just plain fun, this three-way collaboration of Hand, Brodi Ashton, and Jodi Meadows plays fast and loose with history. Set in 1553 Tudor England, the beginning is rooted in fact: young King Edward is sickly, the prognosis isn’t good, and instead of risking the rule of his despotic older sister (that would be the future Bloody Mary), Edward names as his heir his bookish cousin, Jane Grey—after first marrying her off. All the civil unrest of the Tudor era is on display, with the Catholic-Protestant conflict neatly reimagined as a feud between shape-shifters (Eðians) and non-shape-shifters. Jane, who secretly envies the Eðians, has no desire to be queen or a wife and is not particularly thrilled to meet her new husband, Gifford. Little does she know that he is not the womanizing rake she thinks, but a cursed Eðian who spends his nights as a man and his days as a horse. When Mary’s plans to seize the throne take a turn for the murderous, Jane and Gifford find themselves caught up in a web of court intrigue, adventure, and maybe a little romance. Wonky, offbeat, and happily anachronistic—the references run the gamut from Shakespeare to Monty Python, with plenty of nods to The Princess Bride—this fantasy adventure politely tips its hat to history before joyfully punting it out of the way. An utter delight.
BOOKLIST, starred review!

In real life, Edward VI and Lady Jane Grey died young in 16th-century England. Here, Edward and Jane get another chance at happiness thanks to the irrepressible imaginations of the authors. Adventure, intrigue, humor, and romance abound—so, too, does high fantasy. England is a place where people (including royalty) are either Eðians (those who can shape-shift) or Verities (those who cannot). Because many Verities believe Eðian magic is evil, they set about to obliterate it. Eðians retaliate. Also, someone keeps poisoning the king’s food. The plot, then, involves Edward, Jane, and their allies trying to figure out how to keep peace in the kingdom, find out who is poisoning the king’s food, and restore Edward to the throne (he is presumed dead and gads about incognito for part of the book). Eðian “facts” are woven in with such subtle assurance that they come across as a genuine part of English history. For instance, the year the volatile Henry VIII discovered his leonine animal form and devoured the court jester is known in the kingdom’s collective memory as the Year of the Lion. Wisecracks are prevalent, which would be grating after a while if the characters did not fairly sparkle with the complete array of honest human qualities. Readers will need to know the basic backstory of Lady Jane Grey and Edward VI. VERDICT: A great choice for those who enjoy lighthearted, alternative history adventures and romance.

All three narrators—Edward, Jane, and Gifford—are delightful. G, the supposed “skirt chaser” is hilarious as fledgling poet, sometimes spouting Shakespeare before the Bard’s birth. Jane is a well-read, take-charge heroine who changes into a fearless ferret, and wimpy Edward discards his royal privilege to forge his own destiny. Three cheers for this well-written and rollicking revision of history full of timely mannerisms and bold adventure. Its length may deter some readers but those who enjoy clever humor, colorful fantasy, and light romance will savor each page.