Calendar Girls, Read-a-Long

Calendar Girls Read-A-Long! Chap 14-19


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 14-19 Discussion Questions

  • How do you feel about the big reveal in this section of the story? Was it too much, just how you wanted it, or underwhelming?
  • Why do you think Rune’s POV is in present tense while Thorn’s POV is in past tense?
  • What did you think of passage à la Bouche de L’enfer? Was it what you were expecting?
  • Have your thoughts changed regarding what Erik needs Rune for now that we’ve got a glimpse of his lair?
  • How do you like the build up of romance between Rune and Thorn so far? 
  • 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.


18 thoughts on “Calendar Girls Read-A-Long! Chap 14-19”

  1. How do you feel about the big reveal in this section of the story? Was it too much, just how you wanted it, or underwhelming?
    First of all, I have been listening to a podcast about immortal people all week, and I am super disappointed that I didn’t make the caped violin playing immortal dude might be the Count of Saint Germaine. when Rune’s father’s name has Saint Germaine in it. After the Count of Saint Germaine connection was made the emotional vampire/ succubus theory wasn’t super surprising, as that is one of the theories about who/what the Count was/ is.

    Why do you think Rune’s POV is in present tense while Thorn’s POV is in past tense?
    I don’t know how I feel about it, but for me, especially when POV switches in the middle of a chapter, it’s easier for me to know who’s telling the story. I do think just switching from first to third narrative would have had the same effect, but I’m sure Howard had their reasons,

    What did you think of passage à la Bouche de L’enfer? Was it what you were expecting?
    It was not what I was expecting. I was expecting something bigger, but maybe that’s still ahead? There are still 100 pages left.

    Have your thoughts changed regarding what Erik needs Rune for now that we’ve got a glimpse of his lair?
    Well with the vampire theory of the Count, there’s a bit of a Dorian Grey thing going on. He sucks energy from people OR he finds a body similar to his own (possibly Thorne?) who he can transport his life energy into. So Erik is the “evil force” in the story and his motives are less than pure and will hopefully make sense soon.

    How do you like the build up of romance between Rune and Thorn so far?
    I feel like it was going to happen eventually. Thorne appears to be the one person that mirrors her, so he would be “safe” loving him and not suck his life force out. It still feels a little weird because its not the most traditional courtship, but we’ll see how it plays out.

    Any other commentary so far?
    I feel like Rune should have told her friends her plan when she auditioned for the lead in the opera. Like, right now she looks like a terrible person to the people who could probably save her from all the weird, but she’s pushing them away on purpose. I feel like what’s going on with Thorn and Erik is messing with her head in a way that’s not explained fully in the narrative, maybe because Rune doesn’t understand it, but right now she looks like a really terrible friend, when that wasn’t her intention.

    I will hopefully finish this book over the weekend!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Oh no! So, you kind of ruined it for yourself? That’s so sad! Though, to be honest, I was still very confused about who exactly Germaine was. It was never really made clear. :/ Perhaps you can explain it to me when you finish. :p

      Huh. For me, I feel like the POV shift was too jarring at the beginning and too subtle at the end because I almost wasn’t even noticing the shifts towards the end and it bothered me. I like distinct divides between POVs because it changes how I perceive the actions/scenery/etc. You know what I mean? o.O

      Oh yeah! The club was SUCH a letdown. sigh They make it out to be this big thing and then it’s over in like… a chapter and nothing major even really happened. To be honest, I’m not even sure it was necessary. I think the book would’ve been fine without it. :/

      Alright. Alright. Evil body jumper who lives forever. Interesting theory. I kind of like that better than the Dorian Grey version (of course, now I can’t stop thinking about Dorian Grey and Vanessa Ives from Penny Dreadful. Mm! I ship them so hard! Bahahaha!)

      Yeah. It was super obvious that Thorne and Rune were going to have a romance, but I mean that’s a tip of the hat to the original, which you don’t know much about. So, perhaps it wasn’t quite as obvious to you, but the energy thing makes it way more obvious.

      Right?! Rune makes some of the DUMBEST choices in this book, and by that I mean she chooses to not do anything! Ugh. She’s kind of frustrating and I personally would’ve preferred a different MC. I just didn’t connect with her and it’s like… she’s trying to be so secretive (because that’s what she’s used to doing), but they don’t really tap into that in the narrative like you said. sigh

      Happy Reading! 😀


      1. I just read the part where Aunt Charlotte explains who the Count was. Part of what she said falls in line with the legend but most of what she said didn’t. Which works for the novel. But underplays what a cool character the Count Saint Germaine was/is. The Count Saint Germaine in the book is very different from the real Count and I’m kind of disappointed that Erik isn’t actually the Count, because that would have been neat.

        I don’t know all that much about the legend, it was only a small part of the Podcast I was listening to, but that story was pretty interesting. This comment got a way from me a little and it gets kinda long and I’m sorry but there is a lot more to the story that what I wrote.

        Sparks Notes version is there was a Count Saint Germaine. He was “born” in 1691. In 1710 is the first documented encounter with him. He appears to be a middle aged man, 40 to 50 year old. He was an excellent violin player. If it was modern day he would be in an orchestra. He was very well known around the area that he lived. He was also a noted alchemist, which is what leads to the legend. Philosophers stone and all that jazz. He was a very talented man in many different mediums.

        He “died” when he was 88 years old, which was old for the time to begin with, but he didn’t look 88 years old he still looked to be in his 50’s. Again playing into the legend. Perhaps with his alchemy background he could have invented a potion to prolong life.

        Five years later, the same dude showed up in that same area that he used to hang out and saw people he knew, including Catherine the Great of Russia. The Count was a friend of Catherine’s mother as well as Catherine. Starting the idea that maybe he didn’t really die. A man that looks like him has popped up at events with important people since then, most recently in 1964. That man discussed historical events, like the signing of the Declaration of Independence, and 19th-century European history I’m not really familiar with as if he was there. Not like he read a book about it, but like he was in the room. He apparently knew Ben Franklin– another man who lived WAY past he the life expectancy for the time.

        There is a theory that Count Saint Germain, who wasn’t up front about his background so no one is sure about his lineage, was Vlad the Impaler– the man who inspired Dracula, who lived in the 1430’s I think. If you look at a known painting of the count, and known paintings of Vlad and try to figure out what he would look like without a mustache, I mean, I guess, maybe. I see where the idea comes from. But this theory also implies that Vlad the Impaler was an actual vampire. However, if the Count of Saint Germaine was 300 years old in the 1740’s that would explain why he was such an accomplished musician, scientist, painter, and just good at everything.
        There is also a theory that the Count was present at the crucifixion, but I don’t know enough about that theory to talk about it.

        Some recent conspiracy theories, have said that the Count Saint Germaine is actor Kevin Pollack, which sounds super ridiculous, until you see the painting of the Count and a picture of Kevin Pollack next to each other. It’s like how Keanu Reeves looks like a bunch of random people from old paintings dating back as long as there have been paintings. It’s weird, probably not true, but they do have an eery resemblance. I mean, Keanu Reeves could be immortal, he doesn’t seem to age. The Count of Saint Germaine has been know as looking about 50 years old his entire know life, so maybe. Who knows.

        It was an interesting piece to put into the story. Through in an actual immortal man who may be a vampire and mix it with phandom of the Opera mythos.

        Liked by 1 person

        1. Honestly, I was super confused about the Count part and I think it’s because it was so underplayed. It was like: “Oh, by the way. Here’s this detail. Blah blah blah.” But that’s kind of how a lot of the book played out. :/

          Hahaha! This is a very interesting piece of history. Thank you for sharing. I don’t honestly believe in vampires or the type of science that could allow immortality (though, we do understand nowadays why we age. We just don’t have the tech to reverse it.) It would have had to be very advanced back then and I don’t honestly see it happening, but who knows.

          I am, however, a believer of Dopplegangers. I fully believe that there are only so many genetic variations in the world and it is VERY plausible to have the same combination of genetics in one period of time as in another. (I’ve actually met one of my own doppelgangers and it’s kind of crazy.) So, who knows. Maybe it’s one of those incidences, but who can really say?


  2. I think the reveal was pretty close to what I had been thinking. So it felt a little predictable. I also don’t know how I feel about the term “psychic vampire”…

    I would guess that Rune is in present tense since what is happening to her now is most relevant to the story, and Thorn is in past tense because his past is most relevant to the story. Other than that, I don’t know that I have thought about it much besides pointing out that I have noticed the tense changes.

    I was mildly disappointed with passage à la Bouche de L’enfer. I feel like there should have been more build up before Erik unleashed his “performance”.

    I have a suspicion that Erik wants to perform a “Frankenstein” type procedure and that the body in the chamber is Christina, but it still does not make sense that he needs Rune willing to participate. Why would you willingly participate in being sliced open?

    I do have to admit that as far as the romance goes, this section had my heart pumping a little. The scene where Rune takes off Thorn’s mask seemed quite sensual. I know they hardly know each each, but I like how their attraction is explained with the twin flames thing.

    Besides the disappointment with passage à la Bouche de L’enfer, this section made me raise my opinion a little more about the book. I am quite enjoying it. It has some predictable moments and a few “eh” moments, but it has some ideas that I have not come across in books yet and I am really liking the similarities I see between the book and The Phantom of the Opera movie. And don’t think I didn’t suspect Auntie of being involved. That was almost too predictable, lol.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Yeah… I’m not really sure the term is appropriate even because they’re not just psychic vampires (as odd a concept as that is.) They also appear to have characteristics of sirens. Why else would the music be involved? This is a strange hybrid creature and I’m really not connecting with it. :/

      To be honest, the present vs past tense kept bothering me! Like, I would read their parts and be like: “What the heck? I must be imaging it.” It wasn’t until you made a comment that I was like: “Wait! WHAT?! I’m not crazy?!” It really threw me off until you pointed it out and, if you hadn’t, I’d probably still be frustrated by it. Tense changes kind of bother me.

      I feel like there should’ve just been… more. passage à la Bouche de L’enfer was kind of a major let down. Like nothing really happened. Even the brief interaction between Thorn and Rune was so simplistic and empty that… I dunno. It didn’t really further the plot in my opinion. :/ Could’ve been WAY more dramatic. (Though, subtlety seems to the name of the game in this book.)

      AHAHA! You have finally figured out my idea. :p He doesn’t need Rune’s body, however, as you suspect. He needs her soul. Christina was mortal (as far as I can tell.) She wasn’t able to connect to Erik the way Rune can, on a magical, physic vampire level. However, if Rune willingly gives up that power (likely a connection to her soul), it can be transferred into Christina and she can be with Erik forever. Hence the ‘we’ll be a family again’ part. My thoughts, at least.

      I’m a little on the fence about the romance. I get it. It’s explained. However, Rune’s attachment to the real world makes her too logical for me to fully believe this relationship and Thorn has never been in the real world so it’s like… he doesn’t even know what a relationship is and then he’s all: “We’re destined to be lovers.” Um… yeah. That ripped me right out of the scene. Had it continued the soft, sensual build, it wouldn’t have been bad. But it was pushed too much.

      Honestly, I didn’t give much thought to Auntie. I just… don’t care? I know that sounds horrible, but this book is a little too… subtle for me. I like build ups and shockers. And it’s just like: “Oh, by the way. Here’s a really important detail.” I dunno. The ending better get intense otherwise I can’t honestly say whether or not I like this book.

      runs off to respond to your other comments :p

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Well, that is why I feel like trying to give the author a little credit for attempting to make a creature that is so unique compared to others, but yes they do have a lot of jumbled aspects. I was right in pegging the incubi/succubi thing though, lol. I do think the author is trying to transform the incubi/succubi in to something more than a creature that feeds off sex.

        And, lets not go that far. You are still a little crazy :-P, haha. I was annoyed with the tense changes for a while until this section when I started to ignore it. I think I was hoping for more intensity so I was focused on looking for that.

        The club was a major let down. It felt like the author was trying to imitate the masquerade from the movie, but I wanted more from the atmosphere and imagery.

        I still don’t know how I feel about Erik’s plan. Did Thorn not say they couldn’t bring someone back from the dead? Isn’t Christina dead?

        I do feel like he could have gone without saying that line. It’s obvious they are supposed to be lovers, though with the pieces of the same soul bit, I would say they are more destined to die at the same time and be reborn back in to one body, haha!

        I am hoping for a good ending, and I ignored Auntie too because I knew she was involved and I remember the contacts comment. I do still think this is a 3-4 star for me because even though I agree with most of what you are pointing out, it is still an enjoyable read and I feel like I would have been pulled to keep reading it in one sitting had we not decided to do the read along.

        I am enjoying the break down discussions.

        Liked by 1 person

        1. Yes, you were right! But they do make references to Thorn’s dad being an incubi, but no explanation for why he is a psychic vampire instead. Like… those are some seriously messed up paranormal genetics there. o.O is a genetics major And I honestly don’t like the mash-up because it feels a bit like a cop out. They’re not really a new creature, just… a hodge-podge of others. (Like the Aye-Aye down in Madagascar. :p )

          Bahahahaha! Yes. I am still crazy, of course! :p But at least I’m not imagining things. Yeah, after it was pointed out, the tense changes didn’t bother me as much. I just didn’t realize it and they kept catching me up. (I think I’m sensitive to it because I have a horrible habit of bouncing back and forth when writing my novels and it’s bad.)

          Wow. If that was supposed to be the masquerade it was a really bad version. I mean… there were no masks. No real costumes. I couldn’t really picture any of the scene and it was SOOO short! Like horribly short to the point where I was kind of like: Aaaand why was this in here?

          Okay. Thorn did say they can’t bring people back from the dead, but didn’t they say at one REALLY small part that she wasn’t dead? I swear he said that when he went down in the secret lab. Like she’s dormant and being kept alive with formaldehyde or whatever. Or is she dead? I dunno. But maybe like… soul transfer is different from energy transfer? Like it’s a full life essence?? Bleh! See, now I’m confused! (Though I stick to my hypothesis.)

          Bahahaha! I was honestly waiting for the ENTIRE book so far for them to find out they’re not meant to be lovers, but they’re actually related. Hahaha! Like it’s a lineage thing that makes them so similar. Then it would just throw an awful wrench in their love plot. MWahahaha! is so not romantic :p And yeah. I feel like a little too much was explained in that scene and it made Thorn just a SMIDGE too eager. Like… if you want in her pants, just kiss her. I’m sure she’ll let you… >.>

          I’m leaning towards 3. I have some issues with it, to the point where I probably wouldn’t read a sequel, but it’s not awful. So, 3 is a good average. :p

          Yeah? You like these break downs? I wasn’t sure if it was too much to keep up with or not. :/ We’re gonna have a poll to see how everyone wants to do it in the future. (If we do multiple discussions again, we GOTTA spread it out. This is a bit too congested for me to get questions/posts up this fast and read at the same time.)

          Liked by 1 person

          1. So maybe what the author is saying is that this version of the incubus is a psychic vampire.

            Yeah, it was a bad version of the masquerade. Although, the school is supposed to have one too.

            I guess we will have to see what the ending brings. I supposed if she did not actually die that she can be re-energized.

            Lol, if you want in her pants. You crack me.

            I think the ending will depend on whether I would read a sequel or not. I’m leaning more toward 3.5. I wish you could actually do half stars on GR. I won’t do half faeries on my blog though. It would be cruel to cut a faerie in half ;-P

            I think if we keep the week time length we could do 2-3 parts instead of 4, but I do like the break down. If we go with the month like some people mentioned, I think just a whole book discussion would do because I think it would be too confusing to try to break it down over the whole month with reading other books.

            Liked by 1 person

            1. Okay, but the constant change between the names is SO ANNOYING! Pick one, damn it! they are different things for goodness sakes! RAWR!

              Nope. School’s masquerade was even worse and wasn’t even a masquerade. Though, they did throw in the falling chandelier… for no reason. >.> Once again, trying to implement items from the original that don’t appropriately fit in this story.

              Hahaha! But seriously, though! You know that’s what all that romantic tension was about. They’re all like: “God, I want to screw you, but this is a YA novel and despite our magical, twin flame connection, I have to let us get to know each other first… because there will be tons of time to get to know each other while I’m lying to you about saving your life from my not-father. So, I’ll just give you the ‘taking your clothes off with my eyes’ look and aura colors. Yeah, chicks dig that.” -.- cough

              Bahahahaha! Half-fairies. :p They could just be pixies then, maybe?? But I feel you. I can’t really do half a biohazard sign. Don’t think that’ll go over too well… Might not really be up to code from a legal standpoint. 😉

              We will have to see. Flavia is hosting the next read-a-long so I’ll let her know the poll results, but ultimately it’s up to her. It may also just take a few months to find an appropriate balance for this.

              Liked by 1 person

              1. Yes that masquerade was AWFUL!! Ugh, such disappointment!!

                You are cracking me up! But I can see that and totally agree.

                Midget faeries!! Lol. Yea, that half biohazard sign might look funny too!

                I’m sure we will find a rhythm eventually for the read alongs.

                Liked by 1 person

    1. Hahaha! So I wrote that question before I finished the section. There were a couple reveals in this part, but I just hated the execution! It was just like “chatting, chatting, important info, chattin- wait what?!” Ugh. Very frustrating.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Yes. I totally understand what you’re saying. I struggled with the character’s reactions and dialogue too throughout. I just couldn’t buy into it, which I was really bummed about, because like I said, I loved her other series.

        Liked by 1 person

        1. Yeah. Some of that dialogue was straight up whack! Like… who the fudgecicles actually says any of that in real life? Come on. (especially the romantic pieces.)

          It really is a shame! Splintered was really well written, but this story was just lacking all the explanations and felt like it hadn’t been plotted out appropriately. sigh

          Liked by 1 person

          1. Exactly! This one was probably my biggest disappointment of the year honestly. I had kind of forgotten about it until you started the readathon. I so badly wanted to like it, but it was just so far out there for me.

            Liked by 1 person

Leave a comment below! I'd love to hear from you!

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.