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text 2017-10-25 14:41
1517 by Peter Marshall
1517: Martin Luther and the Invention of the Reformation - Peter Marshall

This book is not really about Martin Luther or even exclusively about the year 1517. It is more of a detailed study of the posting of the 95 Theses - whether or not it really happened and how the action (whether historical or legend) has been viewed and inspired others throughout the five centuries since.


While this was an interesting study, I couldn't help but wonder throughout my reading of it how much it really mattered. I will admit that, as one who has studied the era and even visited Wittenberg, I am not entirely convinced that Luther did boldly nail the 95 Theses to the door of Castle Church on October 31, 1517. However, the spark of the Reformation was lit and Martin Luther's journey began on that day, even if he did just mail the discussion points to his archbishop rather than immediately publicize them.


The author includes a detailed study on how the beginning of the Reformation has been memorialized and celebrated through the ages. This is partially evidence to disprove the Theses posting, but it is an interesting look at how different people in different ages and circumstances viewed Luther's work. Different generations placed more significance on the Diet of Worms or the burning of the Papal Bull or simply Luther's birth or death anniversary. How did we come to focus on the Theses posting as the most significant event giving life to the Reformation? The author is not sure and seems disappointed in the choice.


I can relate. I have stood before the doors that are now bronze and embossed with the words of the 95 Theses, and was thrilled to be there. But wasn't Luther's 'On the Babylonian Captivity of the Church' more important? Wasn't the Diet of Worms when he truly stood up for reform? Maybe, but before those more compelling events, Luther had to go through the experiences that the 95 Theses brought about. Maybe the burning of his notice of excommunication is more defiant and bold, but it would not have happened without the 95 Theses.


Maybe the passing years have injected October 31, 1517 with more of the drama of the events that followed it because we like the movie-worthy moment of the mild and obedient monk angrily hammering his objections to the door of the very church he is protesting. Maybe the Theses really weren't posted until Luther had been ignored by the proper chain of command. Maybe he had a student glue them up, as would have been more proper than the professor of theology taking nails to the church door. Maybe people didn't gather in excitement the moment the notice went up. However, in retrospect, people of Luther's time and many more since have recognized October 31, 1517 as the day when Martin Luther began something that changed the world.


I received this book through NetGalley. Opinions are my own.

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review 2016-03-08 15:53
Charmed (Fairy Tale Reform School #2) by Jen Calonita
Charmed - Jen Calonita

Another wonderful entry in the Fairy Tale Reform School series! Look, it's no secret that I have a soft spot for these kinds of stories. I'm a Middle Grade reader, trapped in an adult's body. I love magic, mischief, and stories about great friendships. It's no wonder, then, that I also love Jen Calonita's writing. I enjoyed the first book, Flunked, immensely. So I couldn't wait to get my hands on Charmed and see what Gilly was up to now.


The first thing I noticed about this sequel was that Gilly has grown up. Oh, sure, she's still a rascal. She and her friends get up to all sorts of silliness. At the heart of it though, Gilly knows what true evil looks like now. She understands that people can get hurt, and that the choices we make affect others. I loved how Calonita didn't just let Gilly sit at this new point in her life though. Instead, she grows even more throughout the course of this book. Middle Grade readers need good role models and, as feisty as Gilly is, she definitely fits that bill.


Plus, there were so many more fairy tale references to fall in love with! I can't deny that I'm a sucker for a fairy tale pun. Those abound here, and if I'm finding myself giggling I have no doubt that young readers will too. I also appreciated the addition of new, and interesting characters. Most notably, Blackbeard makes his debut here. The idea that a new reader might want to discover the history of that dreaded pirate? Well, it makes me all giddy. He also adds a nice lightness to everything, what with his pirate manners and all. Pirates aren't exactly known for their manners.


I'm being completely honest when I say that I hope there's more of these stories to come. The ending had me a bit teary eyed, and truly hoping that this isn't the last I'll see of Gilly and her friends. If you have a young reader at home, especially one who enjoys a good fairy tale, this is a series you should get them started on. Jen Calonita's writing is wonderful.

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review 2016-02-19 22:25
Flunked (Fairy Tale Reform School # 1)
Flunked (Fairy Tale Reform School) - Jen Calonita

I'd had high hopes for this book and by the end...most were met. But for the first half or more, I found this to be cliche and a bit disappointing. Though that might be partially the fault of the audiobook. I had to give up on it slightly before half way and switch to the book; the narrator's voice made half of them sound like whiny teenagers. Now they may be just that but I will not listen to that if there's anyway to avoid it, so the audiobook had to go.


The country of Enchantasia (ha, ha - eye roll) is ruled by the famous princesses: Ella, Snow, Rose (Sleeping Beauty), and Rapunzel. Though Gottie (Rapunzel's villian...I think) and Alva (Sleeping Beauty's villian) are still loose, everyone is fairly safe and doing well - though the cobblers are in a downturn as Ella gave Glass Slipper creation rights to Fairy Godmothers. The rest of the villains are reformed. The Stepmonster (Flora), Wolfington (best not to mention Grandmother), Madam Cleo (the Sea Witch), and Harlow (Snow White's Evil Queen) live in an enchanted castle where they have turned their lives around and now help young people who are on the path to villainy.


Yep, they run Fairy Tale Reform School!

Their Mission: "To turn wicked delinquents and former villains into future heroes."

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text 2016-02-16 08:57
Reading progress update: I've read 63%.
Flunked (Fairy Tale Reform School) - Jen Calonita

Well, called that. It was such an obvious plot twist...I mean really. 


If you stick a bunch of people formally known as villains in a castle together along with children that could become villains, what do you think will happen? Did nobody see this coming?!


"Once a villain, always a villain. Evil is coming and it can't be stopped. Enchantasia, beware...Fairy Tale Reform School will burn."


That was like, the least necessary foretelling ever.

(spoiler show)


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text 2016-02-09 11:19
Reading progress update: I've read 80 out of 257 pages.
Flunked (Fairy Tale Reform School) - Jen Calonita

I hadn't planned to start another book as I've stalled a bit on the game one. As the audiobook of this was languishing on my checked out list while I flew through the Bess Crawford books, I decided to focus on this first before checking out the next one.


Except that the narrator made me want to throw my device across the room!


I get what she was trying to do and she did get the main character's attitude down well. However, it put such a whiny teenager slant to her voice, almost dipping into something recalling Valley Girl to me oddly enough at times that I couldn't take it. Poor LL finally couldn't take it and had to comment. That was all the push I needed to turn it off.


But I'd held on because I liked the story and the idea. I even liked Gilly and I don't tend to like "good" thief main characters (Robin Hood being the only exception). So we're on take 2 and I'll see how I do with the ebook.


Is it me or am I getting bad vibes from the Stepmonster?

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