Calendar Girls, Read-a-Long

Calendar Girls Read-A-Long! Chap 8-13


Welcome back 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 😜).

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 8-13 Discussion Questions

  • Do you really think Rune is the reason her father is dead?
  • Why do you suspect her grandmother tried to drown her?
  • What do you think Rune and Thorn (and Erik) really are?
  • How do you feel about music in literature? Can you hear it/feel it/understand it? Or is it too different a medium?
  • Any predictions on what Erik needs Rune for?
  • What do you think lies in wait for Rune at passage à la Bouche de L’enfer?
  • 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.


17 thoughts on “Calendar Girls Read-A-Long! Chap 8-13”

  1. I have made it half way through the book!

    Do I think Rune is responsible for her father’s death? I don’t know. There is a sense of magic and life forces at work in this story. I think Rune’s grandmother (and possible Rune) thinks she’s the reason her father is dead, but I haven’t formed enough of an opinion on what’s happening in this book to give a solid answer.

    Why do you suspect her grandmother tried to drown her? I think this has to do with Rune’s father. Maybe the grandmother knew or understood the music/color/aura thing and knew something wasn’t quite right and she was trying to prevent something.

    What do you think Rune and Thorn (and Erik) really are? Well, Erik is supposed to be the actual Phantom, right? Maybe. I’m really confused about this book, but the three of them are connected in some weird way. I don’t think they are related, but they are connected with the seeing the music as colors thing and the “powers” music gives me. Erik appears to be immoral? Like he sucks the life out of people. This book is weird.

    How do you feel about music in literature? Can you hear it/feel it/understand it? Or is it too different a medium? I like it. I think it gives a bit of depth to the story. I think it’s great when two artist mediums come together in an interesting way. When I write I make playlists for the tone of that chapter or scene I want to write and so those elements are very entwined in how I feel about books.

    Any predictions on what Erik needs Rune for? Is he going to suck out her life force? Does she make him stronger? Did he think Thone was Rune when he rescued him from the child trafficking cave? This book is weird. (I like it, but weird)

    What do you think lies in wait for Rune at passage à la Bouche de L’enfer? I think this is where the masquerade ball Erik was talking about is going to be. This would be where she gets kidnapped?

    Other Comments: I felt like I was missing something so I read a Wikipedia article about the original book, this did not clear up much, but I now know who Christine is so that’s less confusing. This book is interesting, and I’m sure it will make sense as a whole if I don’t over think it and enjoy it.

    ALSO how does someone all into a well that is described as coming up to her thigh? Like sure the floor was a little wet, but a cat doesn’t through you that off balance. I am skeptical of this.

    I am interested to read the second half and see what’s to come.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Yay! 😀

      Haha! Yes, this book is weird. There’s a lot of confusion and lack of answers going on in the first half, but you will get your answers soon. 🙂

      As to the grandma, they always talk about her gypsy heritage. So, I too thought she could see/understand what Rune was, like it was some gypsy magic in her blood or something. And I could definitely see a mother trying to protect her child over her grandchild. Only makes sense.

      I won’t say much about what they are, but I will say that ‘Phantom’ is simply a title that was utilized from the original story, which possessed no paranormal anything.

      Ah! You sound like Adrienne in regards to the music. Myself, I compartmentalize music from literature or words. It’s very difficult for me to combine the two as the mediums are just so different and music, for me, isn’t so much a feeling people can understand as a tapping into myself. It’s hard to understand how music makes others feel and for me to connect that to my feelings. (God, I sound crazy. :p ) But I’m happy you’re enjoying the musical aspects. I can’t seem to get into them.

      Hahaha! You make some pretty good predictions regarding the rest of the book. 🙂 Though, I won’t say how or in what way. Hee hee!

      But wait! If you remember from earlier in the book, Rune must go willingly. Thus, the kidnapping bit won’t work. :/ I was also very confused about the point of the passage à la Bouche de L’enfer because one would suspect kidnapping is the appropriate choice, but it wouldn’t work with what they’d previously stated. So much confusion, not enough answers. sigh

      Bahahaha! Let’s just assume that Rune is the clumsiest person on EARTH. I have more to say about this, but I won’t until you finish the book. No spoilers! 😀

      Happy Reading!

      Liked by 1 person

  2. I am unfamiliar with the original story as well. I only know the movie that came out years ago with Emmy Rossum, so I don’t want to base my knowledge off of that.

    I am suspicious now that Rune unknowingly had a role in her father’s death, and that he may have even known it too. I think this is why her grandmother tried to drown her, because she knew what she was capable of. It’s almost like they are a type of incubi and succubi.

    I love all the music references in the book and I really loved finding out that some operas were close to fairy tales. I will have to do some research on that! I am particularly interested in the Rusalka because I keep reading about that character in books lately. I think music is a part of everything and you can’t deny that it is inspiration for some great stories. I’m pretty sure after Hans Zimmer wrote the Lion King song for his daughter that the movie was inspired.

    I think Erik needs to drain Rune completely of her life-force to keep himself alive. That is what I keep imagining. But he needs her to be able to sing without feeling sick, which is why it seems like they are trying to intrigue her and bring out her song.

    I think at the club they are going to completely bring her under their thrall and hypnotize her in to coming back to their lair. Sounds like a vampire!

    I am liking this book a lot more now. Still a little off for me, though I can’t put my finger on it. It does seem like the writing tense switches back and forth more than it should, and I have seen a lot of similarities in the story to the Phantom of the Opera movie I referenced earlier, so again, it feels like the author meant for it to be a retelling even though its technically a sequel.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Woo! I knew I’d get to this eventually! Haha! (These are just too long to respond in the notifications thing or on my phone.)

      Ah. Same here. I don’t know the original. I’ve seen the movie version and I saw a musical in the theatre, but I was VERY young. Don’t remember anything besides a chandelier falling. HAhaha! :p

      Hmm… I hadn’t thought of inccubi/succubi. Though, I’m not sure it’s quite like that because they aren’t pulling essence from people via music. You know what I mean? Succubi/inccubi draw life force through sexuality. Rune and Thorn seem to draw life force… whenever. :/ Hmm…

      I’ve heard of the Rusalka in a couple other books, as well, though I’m not nearly up-to-date on Russian folklore. (Not really my heritage. :p ) I’m not sure why, but I have a really hard time understanding music in a written format (which probably sounds crazy.) Like, I read how the author explains the music. I read how they express it, how it makes the characters feel, etc, etc. However, I can’t… connect with it. And I find this particularly strange because music is really big for me. Like I’m super attached to it (even got a musical tattoo), but music for me is most definitely an auditory thing. And I don’t always feel the same way about music as others do. So, maybe that’s why I’m having a hard time connecting to those particular descriptions. :/

      😉 I had a feeling that might be what people were expecting: for Erik to drain Rune for himself, but a quote from page 170 made me think otherwise and my idea was re-affirmed at the very end of chapter 11. I’m not sure you want me to say anything quite yet what my particular idea is regarding Erik’s plot, but if you want, I’m more than willing to divulge. 😉

      See, I was thinking along those lines, too: take her. HOWEVER, they keep reaffirming that she needs to come of her own volition. Thus, they can’t hypnotize or kidnap her. So… something else has got to happen then. I do believe they said something about… um… oh crap. It was like… a particular timing that was required or what not. (ugh. I can’t remember it.) there was something in there that made… OH!! I remember, but it connects back to what I think Erik needs Rune for and I don’t want to say it (in case I’m right and may spoil the book. 0.0 )

      I think this is more an embellishment upon the original story than a retelling because of the paranormal aspects being added into this version. It deviates quite well in terms of the world, but the main plot is still relatively similar. I suppose we’ll have to continue reading to see how much or little it diverges from the original. (I’m thinking we’ve seen the last of the similarities, though.)

      Liked by 1 person

      1. As far as the comparison to the incubi/succubi, the life force thing was pretty much what I was thinking, though Rune did drain Ben’s life force while they were fooling around…

        I really need to read up on the Rusalka because she is so intriguing! I do find that I am able to relate to the music aspect because I feel like its visual for me. It’s like watching a movie with emotional music. You have to have the visual aspect to add that extra oomph!

        If your theory about Erik hasn’t changed by part 3, definitely fill me in! I’ll be interested to hear it!

        I’m glad you caught that about her needing to come to them on her own volition. I didn’t think about that. So at the club they must be planning some sort of spectacle to influence her to their good graces.

        I will be interested to see how the book ends. I really want to read the original now. Perhaps we can read it together in the future. Distant future I’m sure, you busy woman!

        Liked by 1 person

        1. Ah! I could understand seeing music from the visual standpoint. I’ve just never seen it that way (ironic given that I’m, in fact, a visual learner. Hahahaha!) But I’m happy the music works for you.

          Hee hee! I explained my theory about Erik in another comment (as you kind of nudged towards it and it was appropriate to comment there.)

          Bahahahaha! I have been rather busy lately. July is a nightmare, and I have grad school starting in August. Woops! But I would love to buddy read Phantom with you. (Was it originally a book or originally an opera???) Buddy…watch??

          Liked by 1 person

  3. I’m so far behind! I’m at chapter 4 but I will catch up for the next discussion. It’s very different. Being completely unfamiliar with the original story I have no idea what to expect, but I’m loving it so far.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Ahh! I imagine that does make the experience quite different from others, but that’s awesome. I’d love to hear from someone unfamiliar with the story.
      P.s. you are more than welcome to comment on the old read-a-long posts as you catch up. They don’t close or anything. 😜

      Liked by 1 person

      1. I loved Splintered too. I think the kind of strange magic system works well in an Alice retelling. For me that style just didn’t really translate well for a phantom retelling. But I know lots of people who loved it too. You’ll have to let me know what you think.

        Liked by 1 person

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