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Friday, September 27, 2019

The Good Luck Girls by Charlotte Nicole Davis and A Book of Bones by John Connolly

At first, I was not sure if I'd be able to read The Good Luck Girls--those girls taken or sold at ten years old to a "Welcome House." On each girl's sixteenth birthday, she is auctioned off before before assuming her role in the brothel.

From description:Westworld meets The Handmaid's Tale in this stunning fantasy adventure from debut author Charlotte Nicole Davis.
Aster, the protectorViolet, the favoriteTansy, the medicMallow, the fighterClementine, the catalyst
The country of Arketta calls them Good Luck Girls--they know their luck is anything but. Sold to a "welcome house" as children and branded with cursed markings. Trapped in a life they would never have chosen.

Clementine, however, on her sixteenth birthday kills the "brag" or client that won her auction.  With the help of Clem's older sister Aster, several of the girls make a break for freedom.  From that point on, the plot becomes an adventure story with Aster in the lead.  Violet, the favorite who had delighted in getting girls in trouble, demands to go with them because she knows where to find Lady Ghost.

The girls must work together to survive and to find the almost mythical Lady Ghost, hoping that she will be able to remove the "favor," the magical tattoo that brands each of them as welcome girls.  Because they are all dustbloods (with the exception of Violet)-- they are all part of a disenfranchised, oppressed element of society,but without the favor, they would not be recognizable as escaped "good luck girls."

Part dystopian, part adventure, part supernatural, part heist...and all about the inequity of a society that subjugates certain members.  While there are flaws--some elements are not explored or explained, the length of the journey isn't mentioned until the end, and other than the madam of the Green Creek Welcome house, women are largely absent or mentioned only in passing--The Good Luck Girls  nevertheless provides an interesting, adventure-filled plot that addresses a number of social issues.  

I'm glad I kept reading, and I look forward to the next book which I hope will smooth out some of the problems in this intriguing debut novel.

NetGalley/Tor Teen
YA/Fantasy.  Oct. 1, 2019.  Print length:  352 pages.

A Book of Bones by John Connolly is the latest in the Charlie Parker PI/supernatural/horror series.  

I was a little disappointed in this one.  It skips all over the place from Parker and his allies to the villains to new sets of characters to historical inserts.  The writing is excellent as always, but the frequent breaks and historical insertions (while interesting) gives an uneven pace to a long book.

There is a great deal of violence in Connolly's good vs evil conflict.  The sinister, macabre elements are so frequent that they actually become less effective.  When a book is over 700 pages, maintaining suspense and dread is difficult.  Gruesome can only go so far.

Problems: too little of Parker, Angel, and Louis (Bob does a little better), too many interruptions that fracture the pace.

spoiler:  At any rate, this ends the Familists, Quayle, Pallida Mors narrative arc, but the Backers are still in play.

Now, where will Connolly go next?  In spite of my disappointment in A Book of Bones, I wouldn't miss a Charlie Parker book and am eagerly anticipating the next one.

NetGalley/Atria Books
Horror.  Oct. 15, 2019.  Print length:  720 pages.


  1. What a strange book The Good Luck Girls must be. I was surprised to see that it's something aimed at a teen audience because I'm not real sure I could follow all the genre-mashing that seems to be goin on in that one.

    I've only read one of the Charlie Parker books but I remember enjoying it, and I'm not sure why I never picked up another of them...maybe the length scares me off a little.

    1. The beginning of The Good Luck Girls almost put me off--as much as the topic of sexual abuse is in the news, it is still disturbing. There are no graphic scenes, but still. Since that episode was over quickly, I enjoyed the rest of the book.

      The Charlie Parker books can also be disturbing. Not all of them are this long, but it was less the length and more the pacing that bothered me. It would have been better at half the length.

  2. I've been intrigued by The Good Luck Girls, so I'm glad to hear that you liked it despite its flaws. :)

    1. I did end up liking The Good Luck Girls. I like adventure tales with women in the lead.

  3. Sounds like there's a lot of things going on in The Good Luck Girls. I'm not sure about this one but still I thought the premise is intriguing.

    Sorry to hear about the John Connolly book, hopefully his next one will be better.

    1. It is always maddening when we are confronted with the abuse of women, but at least these young women find a way to escape and grow in confidence and power. The author doesn't concentrate on race (the girls are from all races), she focuses on the way this society's culture views some people as less than others.

  4. I understand your trepidation about The Good Luck Girls. I also have problems with that sort of depiction in books. It really does depend on how the author presents it.

    I've not read any John Connolly but I've heard particularly good things about The Book of Lost Things and thought I would start there. :D

    1. It is difficult to believe that the same author that wrote The Book of Lost Things also writes these mystery/horror novels, but I read and reviewed The Book of Lost Things in 2007 and liked it very much.

  5. I'm glad you kept reading The Good Luck Girls -- that particular plot premise can so easily go wrong.

    1. As a debut novel, TGLG has some pros and cons, but the author has a promising future. :)

  6. I was just eyeing my copy of the first book in Connolly's series, which is sitting on my TBR shelf. It is a series I think I would enjoy. I would like to read The Good Luck Girls. I could understand your hesitation initially. It would give me pause too.