The Stroke of Thirteen Discussions Questions – Great Ace Club

Hello Book Friends!

Amy here again! I’ve missed you, but appreciate your patience as life comes at me like a roller coaster! I had to make sure I was back for the spookiest of months though and to read an appropriate book together: The Stroke of Thirteen! Let’s dive into a supernatural mystery for the supernatural month! Or this is our master post of discussion questions, you can make any month have October vibes once more.

When Grace Pembleton inherited her grandfather’s business in rural Pennsylvania, she had no idea what else she was in for. She thought life as a bed-and-breakfast owner would be a quiet one, that the only trouble she’d encounter would be making enough coffee for guests.

What she gets instead is a violent gnome, a resident ghost, a secret society, and continuous brushes with the supernatural. Even with new friends at her side, she struggles to fulfill her family’s legacy of protecting the town.
Then a new threat arises, and it wants Grace.

Spooooky, right?

Happy to be back, so let’s get reading!!

The Stroke of Thirteen Book Links – Goodreads | Amazon | Bookshop.org 


Suggested Reading Schedule

  • Week One — Chapters 1-5
  • Week Two — Chapters 6-9
  • Week Three — Chapters 10-13
  • Week Four — Chapters 13-17

The Stroke of Thirteen Discussions Questions Week One

We’re starting out learning all about our characters and location! Let’s talk about the beginning of this book:

-What do we learn about the characters and setting in the opening chapters?

-How does a bed and breakfast make for a great mystery setting? What twists could come from such a setting?

-Do you think the statue is going to play an important part in the coming chapters? What predictions do you have?

-How do Grace and her grandfather differ? Do you think one is more right than the other in how they handle things? Why?

-What do you think about the social media aspect of the book? Does it help you to learn about the characters? What can you learn about Grace from her screen name?

-How does the town differ from other towns? What role does the setting play and how is Grace learning to navigate her family’s history and reputation there?

-Grace describes the town’s energy as attracting these creatures. Have you heard of any towns or places like that? How does it work with what we know about cities with cryptids, like Mothman or Bigfoot?

-Have you heard of any of the creatures in this world? What background do you have in supernatural creatures?

-What predictions do you have about the mysteries of the town? Do you think the incident at the library has anything to do with the murder? Are there potentially other mysteries you see that will tie into them?

-What do you think about Grace, Phee, and Rosie’s friendship?

-Any predictions you have? What makes you think that?

The Stroke of Thirteen Discussions Questions Week Two

The mystery is really picking up!
Let’s pick up to see what happens to Grace next!

– What could the changing weather mean?

– What role does friendship play in the text? Family?

– What kind of tropes does the Septu Club utilize?

– Do you notice anything specific about the death omens? What could each one mean? Do you think they correspond to the hour they happen in?

– Mysteries are famous for having red herrings. Do you think anything so far is a red herring in this book? What do you think are important clues versus red herrings?

– In what ways is the town itself involved in the mystery?

– ”People do not like to remember the bad things they have done.” How does this quote give further insight into the plot? – Does Grace’s family want to remember what they have done or forget? How about the town? The Septu Club?

– How does the history of the town play a role in the present? – What role might Grace have? The other families?

– How are the various mysteries of the town coming together? What elements do you think are most important? How do you think they are going to conclude?

– What do you think about Grace’s father’s secret? What does it mean for Grace? For her family legacy?

– We are starting to get close to the climax! What predictions do you have?

The Stroke of Thirteen Discussions Questions Week Three

We’re officially more than halfway through the book and things are getting tense! Let’s keep going!

-Is Grace going off alone brave? Stupid? Chivalrous? Selfish? What are your thoughts? Would you have done the same in her situation or something else?

-How do you feel when you gaze at the stars?

What do you think you would miss the most if it were your last day on earth?

-How are all the clues coming together?

-What does Jacob’s journal reveal? How does it help or hinder Grace? How does it explain the family legacy?

-Do you agree with Grace? What role does family legacy play when facing long ago hurts?

-How is Grace tackling both the threat to her life and the threat to the town? Are the two connected? How are they separate?

We are ending on quite the cliff hanger! What are your predictions for the last quarter of the book? How will all the loose ends come together?

Do you think Grace is going to be able to stay true to her beliefs and change the culture of the town and her family? Make amends? Fix the town’s energy? We are definitely going to find out!

The Stroke of Thirteen Discussions Questions Week Four

OK! I don’t know about all of you, but the air is finally crisp here, it’s officially spooky week, and I am ready to face some supernatural creatures! Let’s see what was really going on with Grace!

-Are the supernatural beings justified in their feelings about Grace and their want of revenge? How do Nuray and Jamison differ in their revenge plots?

-How did the author drop hints about the statue? Did you expect this twist?

-How was Grace able to solve at least one of the mysteries in the town?

-How does Franklin help to explain some of the other mysteries of the town?

-Has Grace grown by the end of the book? How is she planning to change the town?

-What other secrets do you think the town might hold? Its residents?

-What would you say are some themes found in the book? How does it explore and expand on them?

-The end of the book is the original appearance of Grace and some background on her appearance in Witch Wood. How does having that background affect how you feel about the rest of the book?

Make sure to leave a rating and review of the book if you enjoyed it! Or start reading The Stroke of Thirteen today!

Of The Wild Discussion Questions

Welcome to the Of The Wild Discussion Questions master post! Today we discuss the shapeshifter Aeris. But first, can you believe we’re over half way through 2021? We’ve got six books under our belts, and normally it would be fine for number seven! Instead we think a summer vacation is in order and are bringing freebies back! Be sure you drop your email over at our new GreatAce.Club page get them.

Alright, let’s talk about the Of The Wild Discussion Questions!

If you haven’t read alone with us you can get your copy here in ebook, paperback or free with kindle unlimited.

Description:

Aeris, a shapeshifter of the Wild, steals children from unloving homes and raises them as his own in an enchanted grove deep in the Woods. Under the protective eye of their new guardian, the children absorb the forest’s magic and grow more fey-like than human: some of them sprout mushrooms or flowers while others develop scales or wings.

But the reserve of magic that keeps Aeris and his forest home alive is inexplicably running dry. With his life waning and the dangers of the Wild creeping closer and closer, Aeris will do anything to protect his family, even set his hopes on an unlikely new arrival in the Woods: a human stranger.

Suggested Of The Wild Discussion Questions Schedule:

  • Week One: Chapters 1-5
  • Week Two: Chapters 6-10
  • Week Three: Chapters 11-14
  • Week Four: Chapters 15-17
  • Week Five: Chapters 18-End

Remember to always feel free to share your favorite quotes, book pictures, etc as we read on top of answering the discussion questions. You can join in the fun anytime with the #GreatAceClub hashtag.

Week One:

I’m personally a sucker for found family. Let’s get started to discover how they find each other and grow!

  • Why do you think found family often resonates with the LGBT+ community?
  • What do you think of what Aeris is doing for the babies and children he rescues?
  • How do we see magic already in these early chapters? What might change as the magic disappears? What might Aeris have to do to keep his children safe? What would you do in his place?
  • What type of parent does Aeris seem to be? How does he take care of his children?
  • What is the significance of the baby not changing?
  • Do you think that the Tall Ones have something to do with the disappearance of magic? Why might they be so interested in Aeris and his children?
  • What kind of world do you think Aeris rescues the children from? Is it a world like ours, a fantasy world, or something in between? Do you think one world is more forgiving than another?
  • Do you have any predictions about what will happen next? Why? What are you hoping to see?

Week Two:

Ready to continue Aeris’ journey to keep his family safe! Let’s get started and see what happens to the magic protecting his home and to his family.

  • What secrets do you think Aeris is keeping? What effect could these secrets have on his family?
  • What are we learning about the outside world from Aeris and the failing magic? What kind of world might his children have come from?
  • Share some predictions you have about William. What role could he have for The Woods?
  • How does the magic seem to work in this world?
  • How are both like regular human children and different? How does Aeris foster a sense of trust and love to help the children be more like regular children?
  • What do we learn about Aeris’ sexuality in this section? How do we learn it? Does his response feel similar to your own experiences?
  • What do you make of Aeris’ response to William? Does he seem to trust him? Why might he not trust him? Why might he grow to trust him?
  • How do magic and technology intermingle? What do you think of Aeris’ description of the city?
  • What do you make of Aeris’ and William’s conversation? What do we learn about each of them?
  • How are William’s fears about taking over for Aeris the fears that any future parent might face? How are they fears that anyone who steps into another role might face? Have you ever felt fear or nervousness like William does?
  • What significance does it have that William doesn’t feel like he deserves a family? Why might he feel that way?
  • How does Aeris’ analogy about family being a garden resonate with William? How do you feel about it? Would you agree or disagree with his sentiment?
  • What predictions do you have?

Week Three:
I’m still loving this book and am excited to finish everything with you! Let’s dive into some magical universes and forget about the strife of life!

  • What do you think the Tall Ones want with Aeris?
  • What kind of fairy tale motifs are present in this book? How does Aeris fit into those motifs? What kind of archetype does he represent? What about the Tall Ones? William?
  • Do you think that Aeris’ choice not to tell the children what is going on is a good one? Does it make sense? Do you think the children are better off not knowing, or should he share with them?
  • Should Aeris allow himself to be sad in front of the children? Why or why not?
  • How are Hori’s fears something all children worry about? How might it particularly resonate with queer people?
  • What do you think of the growing relationship between Aeris and William? How does Aeris appreciate William in ways he isn’t used to?
  • How do the children help William?
  • What does the fruit mean for the children? For William? For Aeris?
  • How is the relationship between Aeris and William changing? Do you have any predictions?

Week Four:

  • We’re moving through the rest of the book! What is going to happen between Aeris and William next? And the children? Will the Tall Ones make another appearance? Let’s read on and find out!
  • What do you think caused the change in William? How might Aeris have caused it?
  • How does Aeris’ magic help people become what they truly are? How is that reflected in children? In William?
  • What do you think Sen’s transformation means? How is it both like and not like the transformation William goes through? Like the children’s original transformation?
  • How do the Tall Ones’ reaction to William being Wild similar to what William has faced before as a trans man?
  • How does William’s Wild status change the way we perceive the story and its characters? Especially Aeris and his feelings for William?
  • How does Aeris help the children heal? What does his magic and steady presence bring them that they were missing before?
  • How does Aeris perceive himself and William that is so different from how William perceived him?
  • What do you think William realized? What solution does he see that Aeris is too close to perceive?

Week Five:

Ending on a cliff hanger is always a good way to make me excited to pick a book up again! Let’s see how William decides to solve Aeris’ magic issues!

  •  What do we learn about Aeris at the end of the book?
  • How does the author use different styles to express what is happening to Aeris? William? The Tall Ones?
  • How has Aeris been struggling without realizing it? What does he learn from William?
  • How does Aeris’ family continue to grow and change? What might he do differently with his children going forward?
  • How will William staying make the family stronger? How will Aeris and William likely balance each other?
  • What did you take from this book? What might others take from it?

Lumberjanes Discussion Questions

May’s GreatAce.Club’s pick was Lumberjanes from an awesome writer/artist, Noelle Stevenson! If you’ve watched the new She-Ra, it’s the same person! We’ll be reading the first trade edition, which included the first four issues. Rather than try to divide up a comic book, we are instead going to break it down and take a look at different elements. We’ll be looking at:

  • Week One: Characters
  • Week Two: Setting
  • Week Three: Plot
  • Week Four: Tone, Theme, and other literary things!

I hope you’re as excited as I am for something new and different! Let us know what you think of doing comics; we would definitely love to do more and maybe even do another Lumberjanes trade edition!

Lumberjanes Chapter One Badge

I am absolutely a character driven reader; some of my favorite books may have a weak plot, but the characters are *chef’s kiss.* How do you feel about characters? Who is (or are) your favorites in these beginning chapters? Let’s talk about them!

-How are we introduced to the main characters? What do we immediately learn about them?

-How do the characters’ physical appearances match with their personalities? If you don’t think they match, how do they play against them?

-What are your initial thoughts about the Roanoke Cabin? Jen? Rosie? Barney and the other boys?

-What are some unexpected things we learn about each of the characters? Did anything really surprise you?

-The Lumberjane characters definitely do not suffer from sameface or tokenism. How are each of the girls different and how do they use their differences to be stronger together? How do they surprise each other and the audience?

-What are each girl’s strengths? Weaknesses? How do they lift each other up to overcome and grow together?

-Which characters seem to have the strongest relationships? Do you get a romantic sense from any of them? Share your shippy thoughts!

-”xxx to the max!” is a common quote the characters say. How do they each embody that quote? Do you think their friendship is “to the max”?

-What relationships do you want to see grow? Who do you want to learn more about?

The setting of a book can make or break it sometimes; is it a real place? If so, does the book meet the feeling of that place? Is it a made up place? Choosing where a book or comic is set can absolutely effect how the plot progresses and what types of conflicts the characters will face. Even in a fun comic series, the authors made choices about the setting and that’s what we’re going to discuss this week!

-Lumberjanes is set in a summer camp. What implications does this have for the plot? What kinds of imagery do we usually associate with summer camp and childhood?

-How does adding an element of scouting change the summer camp setting?

-The comic opens with a description of the Up All Night Badge; how does starting in the middle of the night set the scene? Set a tone?

-The camp sign has “hardcore lady types” nailed over the original name; is this significant? What does it mean for the camp? How does that change the expectations?

-Does the main cabin being called the Roanoke Cabin foreshadow anything?

-In what ways are the woods like normal woods? How are they different?

-How does the underground cave give each girl a chance to shine? What purpose could the challenges the setting presents have?

-What differences are there between the boys’ camp and the girls’ camp? Why are they potentially significant?

-How do the Lumberjanes react to each new place? Do you think their reactions are propper? Why or why not?

-What traditional camp settings would you like to see more of? Is there a place the girls have been that you want to learn more about?

-Did you notice anything interesting or fun in the background?

The plot of a book is, well, the book! It’s what happens! But there are always nuances; rises and falls before the climax, the falling action. Comics face the added struggle of needing to build on each issue to a larger climax, while often having smaller ones in individual issues. I chose to discuss the plot this far into May because I’m hoping everyone has had a chance to finish the first edition, so there shouldn’t be any spoilers!

-The comic starts out with an action scene. How does this set the tone for the rest of the plot? Do you think that it sets it up right and gets the reader ready for lots of action?

-How does Rosie introduce more of the mystery? What does she set up for the rest of the book?

-How are the badges a good way to frame each chapter? In what ways are the badges significant to the plot?

-How does each chapter build to the next?

-Most chapters are self-contained stories that are part of the greater plot. What other adventures do you think that the Lumberjanes will go on? What is the main plot? What do you think the Lumberjanes will find as they explore more?

-Book one ends on a bit of a cliffhanger. How does the ending introduce new and interesting conflicts to the series?

-What do you think the central conflict is or will be? Do you think that it will end up being more of a person v. person, person v. nature, person v. supernatural, or do you think the central conflict will have more to do with the campers
growing as people?

-What do you hope to see in future issues?

-What, in your opinion, is the best part of the book?

There are a lot of little things in this series that I feel like we need to discuss! Noelle is known for their characters basically all being some form of queer; if you’ve seen She-Ra, then… yeah. She plants deliberate clues and being queer is often part of the theme he puts into their work. Themes of friendship, love, growth, and bonding are all important, as is the tone she chooses for the comic to have. Let’s talk about everything else about this comic!

-If you haven’t already, make sure you have read the Message from the Lumberjanes High Council. How does this message go along with organizations like the Girl Scouts? How are the Lumberjanes like a scouting group?

-Why is it important to have a group like this for young girls? How does our real life past of limiting women to being housewives and indoors impact the comic?

-What is substantial about the “then there’s a line about God” in the pledge?

-The Lumberjanes are not exactly a summer camp and are more than just a scouting program. What could be the significance of this? How does roping the supernatural in with scouting/camp add to everything?

-In what ways do the beginning chapters reference fairy tales? And how do they turn those tropes on their heads?

– How do the Field Manual pages help set the scene for each chapter? Do you read the page to get a sense of what the girls are doing or just jump right into the action? In what ways do they allow us to learn more about the Lumberjanes as a whole?

-How does the book turn common tropes on their heads? References?

-What significance do the three eyed animals have? How many did you notice?

-How are the boy scout characters a good foil to the Lumberjanes?

-Many instances in the comics do not go as expected, such as April being a great arm wrestler or the yetis being bribed with cookies. What does that do for the comic? How does it go along with our expectations in real life?

-What themes are you really enjoying about the comic? What do the writers and artists build into each issue and keep going?

-How would you describe the tone of the comic? Did you laugh a lot? Did it seem serious or mysterious?

-What kind of symbols are we seeing so far? What is significant about Molly getting the bow and arrow? How are bows and arrows a part of mythology and legend, or a part of the strangeness presented in the woods?

-What tropes are you enjoying? What tropes are you enjoying seeing turned on their heads?

Be sure to pick up Volume 1, new, used, kindle unlimited, or even check if your local library or comic shop has it!

We will see in you in the #GreatAceClub tag on tumblr, twitter, facebook, instagram, or goodreads. Basically wherever you wantta be your bookish self!

The Princess Saves Herself In This One (Book Club Discussion Questions)

I hope everyone is ready to get started! Please keep in mind the trigger warnings; if a poem triggers you, you are welcome to skip it! If it gives you a moment to think and reflect, share your thoughts with us on social media with #GreatAceClub. Like last month, these discussion questions are just to get the ball rolling. You are welcome to answer all, some, or none and encouraged to share your own thoughts and questions, or pretty book art! This post collected all of the topics into one post so don’t worry if you read at whatever pace is natural for you.

Here are some questions to chew on for section I.

the princess

Section one deals with the princess, which sets up the start of the arch of the collection. Based on the title and the section names, can you see a theme becoming apparent with this collection?

-Amanda Lovelace discusses a lot of her trauma growing up in this first section. Are you able to relate to her at all? If not, do the poems in this section speak to you differently?

-Most people agree that you experience and understand your life differently at different stages. I, personally, am past my teens and twenties so come at these poems and themes at a different stage of life than someone who is still in high school or starting out on their own. How do your personal life experiences influence your perceptions of the poems? How might your perceptions have been different if you read this when you were younger?

-How do the poems in this section go along with traditional fairy tale beginnings?

-Did any of the poems stand out to you? If you’re willing to talk about it, why?

-This section dealt heavily with childhood and teenage years. Do you think that teenagers and young adults feel things more strongly? Did/do you?

the damsel

-What, to you, is the difference between a princess and a damsel? Are princesses always damsels or vice versa?

-Your first love can leave a lasting impact on you. How do we see this in Amanda’s poems? Do any of them resonate with you specifically? If you’re willing, share some experiences from your own past and how they shaped you.

-Poetry frequently deals with love and heartbreak; how do Amanda’s poems continue that tradition? Do you think that poetry is a good medium to express those feelings?

-How do the poems in this section go along with being a damsel? Is love and heartbreak intrinsically linked to being a damsel?

-Does experiencing loss, whether through death or heartbreak, go along with the idea of being a damsel? Is there a way to escape either?

-What does destiny mean to you?

-There is a consistent saying that you need to experience pain to be an artist, that trauma and heartache fuel creativity. Do you believe this? Has your own background made you more or less likely to create?

-How has the theme of the poetry moved from being a princess to being a damsel? How do you think the queen will play a part?

the queen

– Amanda explores some less than positive emotions in this section. How do you feel about poetry as a means to express feelings of revenge, pettiness, and other “negative” emotions?

– How can we take so called negative emotions and use them to grow? How can we take trauma and bad life experiences and do the same? Does one need pain to be an artist or does one just need the ability to grow?

– Do you think there is a difference between first relationships and relationships later in life? Do you believe that first relationships can last and if so, what makes them do so? How do Amanda’s poems about her later relationships differ from her first ones?

– In what ways can a new relationship feel like poetry? How can a healthy relationship feel the same?

– Everyone comes into a relationship with baggage; what advice do you think is important for people to know to make relationships work? Whether it’s love or friendship, how can you tame your personal dragons? What advice can you get from Amanda’s poetry?

– How do you see Amanda’s growth into this section?

– In what ways has the theme of saving yourself progressed to the section of the queen? How are the poems queen-like?

  • – Do you think your own life has had a princess-damsel-queen progression? Or would you say it’s something different? What would you title the sections of your life so far?
  • – Do any of the poems specifically resonate?

you

We’re at the last part of the princess saves herself in this one! This section is advice for us, the readers. We can definitely see the progression of the themes Amanda has presented and see it come to a close. Let’s talk about it!

– Do you write? How does Amanda’s advice on writing as a poet resonate with you?

– There are people who do not like the style of poetry Amanda uses, which is a more modern type of poetry. What do you think poetry is?

– How is poetry used as a form of protest? As a way for unheard voices to be heard?

– Amanda references some famous women poets of the past; in what ways has poetry been a voice for women when we were often silenced before? Do you think that poetry can be a universal experience? Or is it a way for the unheard to be heard?

– Poetry exists for many different purposes. Do you think Amanda is solely speaking to us, the audience, in this section or do you think any of her advice is for her past self? What did you take from this section?

– Did any poems really stand out to you?

March is almost behind us! We finished the princess saves herself in this one; did you enjoy it? What were some of your favorite or least favorite parts? The below questions, as always, are open for you to answer as many or as few as you want and I would love to hear some of your other reflections on this book!

– What does poetry look like to you? What does poetry mean to you?

– What makes something a good poem?

– How can poetry be used to figure out your emotions? How is it a voice for the unheard or for emotions you cannot necessarily process?

– What kind of poetry format is your favorite? Are you a fan of modern poetry, or do you prefer something different? What do you think draws you to that type of poetry?

– What would you say are the central themes of the princess saves herself in this one and how does Amanda use the section headings to move that theme or those themes along?

– Were there any poems or themes that really stood out to you?

– Be honest, did you cry?

– How do you think Amanda could build on her themes in her later books?

If you haven’t already you can pick up The Princess Saves Herself In This One in ebook, paperback, or audio read by Amanda Lovelace. Or check out her other poetry books in the Women Are Some Kind of Magic series.