Calendar Girls, Read-a-Long

Calendar Girls Read-A-Long! Chap 1-7


Hi there and welcome to Calendar Girls’ very first read-a-long! As a monthly blogging event, we strive to welcome all bloggers and readers and to find new ways for them to engage with each other (over books, of course 😜).

One such way was suggested by one of our wonderful Calendar Girls and thus we have a new part of the monthly event: Read-A-Longs! Woo! Since the read-a-longs follow the monthly theme, July’s read-a-long theme is Fairytale Retellings! And the wonderful bloggers popped over to Twitter where they voted for which book they’d want to read this month. The winner was….

A. G. Howard

In this modern day spin on Leroux’s gothic tale of unrequited love turned to madness, seventeen-year-old Rune Germain has a mysterious affliction linked to her operatic talent, and a horrifying mistake she’s trying to hide. Hoping creative direction will help her, Rune’s mother sends her to a French arts conservatory for her senior year, located in an opera house rumored to have ties to The Phantom of the Opera.

At RoseBlood, Rune secretly befriends the masked Thorn—an elusive violinist who not only guides her musical transformation through dreams that seem more real than reality itself, but somehow knows who she is behind her own masks. As the two discover an otherworldly connection and a soul-deep romance blossoms, Thorn’s dark agenda comes to light and he’s forced to make a deadly choice: lead Rune to her destruction, or face the wrath of the phantom who has haunted the opera house for a century, and is the only father he’s ever known.

Chapters 1-7 Discussion Questions

  • Did you have any thoughts/ideas about the story before reading? Perhaps based off the blurb?
  • What do you think about the colored text in the book? Does it have any impact on your reading experience/perception of the main character, Rune?
  • How do you like Rune so far? Connectable? Distant? Other adjectives? (hee hee!)
  • How do you feel about the dual-POV of Rune and Thorn? Does it enhance the overall story telling or is it bothersome?
  • Any predictions regarding whether or not/how Rune’s gypsy heritage will tie into the story?
  • Any thoughts on how the story will progress? Any desires for where the story will go?
  • Any other commentary so far?

Answer a few. Answer them all. Come up with your own! 😀


July 10th: Discuss chapters 1-7
July 12th: Discuss chapters 8-13
July 14th: Discuss chapters 14-19
July 16th: Discuss chapters 20-24 (The End!)

Oh! And while you’re reading, feel free to share your progress and/or non-spoilered thoughts (because Roseblood just pubbed in January) on Twitter. Use the hashtag #CGBReadalong so other readers can see what you think and chime in.


12 thoughts on “Calendar Girls Read-A-Long! Chap 1-7”

  1. So, I am completely unfamiliar with the original story, so I was walking into the book blind. I had no idea what to expect.

    I do enjoy the colored text. It took a little to get used to at first, but now I think it’s pretty novel. It’s not something I’ve seen before. (and as an editor I would have loved to be in the room as they discussed this idea lol).

    I find Rune a little distant. She doesn’t seem too interested in the story that’s happening around her, but at the same time she is being gas lit a little by Thorne, so her actions make sense. She is a strange narrator because she doesn’t seem engaged in the story, I have a bit of a hard time becoming invested.

    Since one POV is in first person and one is in 3rd it’s easy to follow the changes. I think Throne’s part of the story makes Rune’s make sense. I can see that she’s not being obnoxious and paranoid because she doesn’t want to be at the school, things are really happening in the mirrors and stuff. So the dual POV works for me.

    I hope Rune’s gyspy heritage plays a role in the story because otherwise, it would be silly to mention it several times. lol

    What very little I know about the Phantom of the Opera is there is a kidnapping (?) I think and then someone I’m assuming the Phantom sings “Music of the Night” and there is a boat. I don’t know how these will play into the story, but I am invested in where it goes. I’m curious about the Grandmother and why the Aunt was so estranged from Rune even though she seems pretty tight with Rune’s mom while she’s at the school (Also why does the mom stay at the school for a week, that feels weird to me)

    I’m enjoying the story, but I feel like I’m missing a little not knowing the original but I don’t want to spoil myself and read about it on Wikipedia. I think that Thorne’s part of the story where it explains a little about the original is helpful. I’m also feeling like this father guy is the Phantom from the original but I don’t want to invest myself in this idea. I’m interested in learning more about the upper parts of the school that are closed off and how Kat and her connection to the woman from the original story will play into things.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Holy comments. 0.0

      Hee hee! I like the colored font. Though, I’m not quite sure it fits Rune’s personality. :/ (And A. G. Howard had colored font in her other books, too! Must be an author thing.)

      Mm. Unfortunately, Rune is very much a passive MC. I think we all felt that a little bit during reading. Such a shame.

      I understand the dual POV, but I can’t honestly say I liked it. I feel like it too away too much of the suspense. Everything was explained before it happened and kind of lessened the impact of certain scenes. But that could just be me, I suppose.

      Right?! The gypsy heritage seems like SUCH a big thing in the beginning. You have assume it’ll play a role later, but I’ll keep quiet about whether it does or not. 🙂

      Seriously. Why did the mom stay forever? I felt like that was super strange, too. I mean, Rune is 17. Yeah, she’s got some issues, but if you’re sending your kid off to boarding school, you really should’ve thought about the leaving her part ahead of time. >.>

      I’m glad you’re enjoying it so far. Adrienne and I were a bit confused about some parts, as well, given the lack of information. I’m curious to know how you’ll receive the book having no knowledge of the original. Perhaps that will change your opinion from ours. Can’t wait to hear from you again! Happy reading!

      Liked by 1 person

  2. I think when I first read the blurb I thought this would be an actual retelling, but am finding out that it is more like a continuation, which I am fine with.

    I LOVE the colored text and the beautiful page art. It helps add to the experience of being able to imagine how Rune is able to see auras and musical notes in rainbow colors. How great would that be?

    I like Rune because she is a unique character in terms of her musical ability and her fascination with the history of the phantom, but at the beginning it seemed like she was scared of meeting the phantom, and in chapter 7 she was hoping to meet him. Confusing slightly.

    I like the dual POV because it is done well enough that we are not getting confused on which character we are reading at any moment. I like knowing his side of the story and his feelings.

    It’s obvious that Rune’s grandmother has something to do with the violin and the phantom’s story. I have suspicions on her possibly being Christine herself. I know the gypsy heritage will tie in, I just can’t put my finger on one theory yet.

    I like the use of the human like animals. Animals are quite intelligent and, of course, being around these characters that have magical abilities, they are going to be able to do some extraordinary things themselves at some point.

    What do you think about the violin situation? That same violin that Rune’s dad had was described in great detail but was said to not have left Erik’s side…

    How do you feel about the memory flashbacks Rune has?

    Do you feel like the writing is done well enough to make us feel we are reading about actual teenagers, or do you think it is slightly too immature?

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Holy comments, Batman! 0.0

      Yeah, I wasn’t sure what exactly to expect in regards to the re-telling piece, but I think I’ve gotten used to them not being re-tellings. Too many of the ones I’ve read have been more sequel like this.

      Haha! That would be really cool, but I think I’d have sensory overload. :p I definitely like the thorn artwork. It emphasizes the dark vibe underlying the story.

      Rune… doesn’t seem to have a legitimately established personality, in my opinion. She doesn’t seem to have a solid base for personality, either that or I’m just not getting a good feel for her and it’s kind of frustrating. I just… don’t know who she is and that makes it hard to want to read about her. :/

      His POV definitely helps clarify a lot of things that are going on with Rune (especially in the second section we read.) Otherwise I was just be like: Okay, is this a really bad horror paranormal? :p But his POV helps contradict… well, at least the bad horror part. Hahahaha!

      I don’t think the gma is Christine. Not based on the age they keep stating the phantom is. I think Christine is dead, but… I will comment more on that in the other post. 😉 As to the gma herself, there’s definitely some tie-in with the gypsy heritage. What? I’m not sure yet. :/

      AH! Yes, I caught onto the violin piece. I was very confuzzled about that, as well, wondering if it’s a slip-up in the writing or actually a plot element. I suppose we’ll have to wait and see. (Though, based on the second section, I may be leaning more towards a slip-up in the text. Oops.)

      The flashbacks. They played a HUGE role in part 2 of our read-a-long to the point where I felt like there were more flashbacks than actual present-day story and that kind of bothers me. They’re wonderful, yes. They’re beautifully written, obviously. However… they feel like distraction techniques. Like the author didn’t have a long enough story and threw them in for length or perhaps because she couldn’t figure out an appropriate way to implement them. :/

      Hmm… immature, you say? That’s a good question. I don’t really know. I think that the language being used is actually quite grown up. I thought Rune was older than she really is based on the narrative, but I wouldn’t really give either character much depth in personality. Thus they could seem a tad juvenile, I suppose.


      1. Holy catch-up batman! Lol. I think we are leaning towards similar feeling about the book in general. I like Rune, but I believe you are right in that we haven’t gotten a hard personality set for her.

        Gma is definitely tough to pin down still. We will have to see I suppose.

        I would hope there is more explanation than a story typo with the violin thing.

        I kind of like the flashbacks because I feel like they give character and story insights for those who didn’t read the original story. But they could have been somewhat shortened to allow for more present day story.

        I feel like we are actually reading about teenagers, which is good for the story. I guess immature was the wrong word. I feel like Rune seems like the age she is supposed to be. So do her friends. So I guess I feel like the author did well in portraying theirs ages instead of making them seem like they were in their late 20’s when they are still in high school.

        Liked by 1 person

        1. Bahahaha! I love your response. Makes my day…. Batman! :p

          Yeah… Rune is just what I call a passive character. Things are happening ‘to’ her instead of her doing things. :/ I don’t like those stories, but it looks like we get some action in part four along with some Gma in part four. already started reading as I won’t have time on Saturday

          But the flashbacks don’t even regard the original story. The regard the youngins past. We haven’t gotten flashbacks into Erik’s story, thus it’s not really BG (background. ) And you’re right. They’re too long. They become full scenes where a couple sentences would likely suffice to get the point across, especially because I don’t get any emotion from Rune in the flashbacks. So, hers aren’t necessary in full detail.

          A lot of the drama is helping to make them more youthful, for sure. They are juvenile in their antics and interactions. Rune has a slightly older voice, but she also has a darker past than her counterparts. Children scarred by their pasts tend to grow up faster and this makes sense, but… I dunno. Her voice still just isn’t distinct enough for me to really feel her age. :/

          Liked by 1 person

          1. I think I will finish the book up today, hehe.

            I guess maybe we don’t get as many flashbacks for Erik since the author is banking on the readers being familiar with the original phantom.

            I think maybe Rue’s new friends are the ones I keep feeling that are immature. And Kat, man I want to slap her!

            Liked by 1 person

            1. Hahaha! Well then. Good luck! 😀

              But even Erik’s story deviates from the original in some way, I feel like. :/ I dunno. (Granted it’s been a while since I watched the opera.)

              Ah. Yes. In comparison to Rune and Thorn, they are immature. However, they are teenagers. That’s to be expected. Kat, honestly isn’t that bad. She doesn’t bother me. :/ If anything, she’s pretty chill.

              Liked by 1 person

              1. 😀

                Its been a while since I’ve watched the movie, which I’m sure is different from the book, so I am sure his story does deviate. We will have to revisit after we read the original. In a few years? Haha.

                So I guess my point was that the author did a good job of making them seem like real teenagers lol. Sometimes I feel like teenager characters don’t seem to be their age in books.

                Liked by 1 person

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