Book Review | The Book of Amazing Stories

The Book of Amazing Stories
90 Devotions on Seeing God's Hand in Unlikely Places
Robert Petterson

Tyndale | October 3rd, 2017
Devotionals, Historical People, Mini Biographies

You may have thought you knew the lives of famous people--such as Martin Luther King Jr., Howard Hughes, Mother Teresa, Muhammad Ali, Ronald Reagan, Susana Wesley, and many more. But, in The Book of Amazing Stories, you'll know so much more about Ronnie's faithful church-going single mom and William's early days as a humble shoemaker's apprentice. You'll marvel at how God used the lives of these ordinary people to change the course of human history.

Life makes the strangest sharp turns and, sometimes, U-turns. Robert Petterson--popular speaker, storyteller, and author--has been a student for his entire life of what God is teaching us through those real-life U-turns. In this book, he compiles 90 amazing stories that teach lessons you won't easily forget.

Each devotional ends with a compelling and hopeful take-away--a thought about what the story reveals about life and God.

Be amazed. Be encouraged. Learn the lessons God is teaching through people's lives.

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            This book is amazing.  I learned so much about people who founded the United States of America, others who made a huge impact on cultures, and others whose mistakes we can learn from.  

            Each day features a story about some person in our world history, with facts you may or may not have known about them or their families.  It ends with an inspirational quote or moral to each story, as well as a Bible verse which relates perfectly to each tale and circumstances.  

          Did you know that President Ronald Reagan's mother was a diminutive washerwoman who worked herself to the bone every day to nurture her two sons, and still found time and energy to serve hot food to prisoners in the jailhouse?  Or that a little mousy girl named Agnes, who felt called by God to be a missionary after her mother exhausted herself in finding a husband for her, would eventually become one of the most admired women in the world: Mother Teresa?  Or what about a selfish, embittered general whose name would go down in America's history as synonymous with the word traitor -- Benedict Arnold, George Washington's favorite general?

          And so much more!  If you enjoy history and the people who have made or destroyed it, then you will love this devotional.  Read a chapter a day for 90 days, or as a normal book!  Not all of the stories here are filled with happy endings.  But that is the point of history, right?  To learn from the mistakes and to find hope and faith amidst the losses and the victories as well.

Tyndale House Publishers has provided you with a complimentary copy of this book.

Deep in NaNoWriMo | Beautiful Books

Soooo. . . I've unintentionally been under blogger silence for the past -- er, two weeks?  Yeah.  Basically, Life kinda barged in.  My old home church hosted a drama presentation that my family and I have been involved in from the start maybe ten seasons ago.  It went on over the course of two consecutive weekends, and lemme tell ya: we were exhausted by the time it was past.  And even afterwards, my sisters and I did not find any time to rest due to a catering job the following Monday & Tuesday.  But both the drama and the catering gig went extremely well.  Lives were changed, God is good, and the food awesome as usual.  :]

And here I am today!  Enjoying my one out of two days off from work at the office, cleaning house, catching up on laundry, and OH YEAH 

We are basically HALFWAY THROUGH NANO, guys.  Halfway through November!! Thanksgiving Day is just over a week away, and Christmas is practically around the corner.  O_O  Did you sign up for the chaotic insanity marvelous challenge of NaNo?  I did!  And, while I'm not quite up to par on my word count, I've had a blast writing every day.  (Why don't I actually do the writing thing without the accountability of story challenges?  Oh yeah, I 'spose it's because I'm a kind of procrastinator. . . heheh)

Well, today, I'm jumping into the link-up hosted by Skye and Cait:  Beautiful Books!

Read on if you are interested in my faerietale retelling titled Noya.  Hopefully, you'll regret nothing.  :]

Overall, how is your mental state, and how is your novel going?
          I would say I'm doing quite well all considering.  In signing up for NaNo, I was completely unprepared & last minute.  But this is so the challenge I needed in order to get somewhere with my story.  As to the story itself, it's progressing.  And surprising me along the way.  I keep having these ideas of throwing in random stuff/things that I would NEVER think of doing ever.  Maybe I'll go along with it, or maybe not.  Still not sure at the moment.  My goal right now is to write as much as possible.

What’s your first sentence (or paragraph)?
          Wellllll. . . Technically, the following paragraph is the first I've written beginning with NaNo.  But this story was in my head, and already underway, when NaNo began, so it's not the FIRST sentence/paragraph.

          Noya stole away to the shoreline. Part of her was excited at the thought of a new adventure. But the more logical, practical side of herself felt rather frightened and sad. Meyrn was the only home she had ever known.

Who’s your current favourite character in your novel?
          Oh my.  I love Noya, of course, as she's the MC.  But I've attempted to flesh out some minor characters as well.  With the exception of Noya, we read from the point of view of two other characters: the Beast, and one of her brothers -- Brom.  I LOVES Brom.  He's like the older brother I never had. But the Beast's character is growing on me as well!  He's gonna be one of those sarcastic, temperamental guys. . .

          With a growl he had not intended, he gestured for her to follow, “Come.”
          Spinning on his heels, he walked ten paces before he turned to find her standing stock still. Excellent. He'd frightened her. Again.
          “Come,” he tried again, this time hoping his voice sounded a great deal softer than it felt. She followed, much like when she had first arrived. Like an obedient little pup.
          What was wrong with him?
          Oh, that's right. He was no generous host with a gift for hospitality.
          There was only a Beast.

Oh-ho-ho!  Such horrible self-pity this Beastie has.  *cackles*  Can't wait for the redemption! 

What do you love about your novel so far?

          It's my own personal retelling of my all-time favorite faerietale, Beauty & the Beast.  'Nuff said.

Aaaaaaaaannnnnnnddddd. . . it's pure Fantasy!  With ELVES.  And Griffins.  And maybeeee a dragon. . .

Have you made any hilarious typos or other mistakes?
          Oh yes!  But I'm usually pretty good at catching them before continuing too much further down the written road.

What is your favourite to write: beginning, middle, or end — and why?
          Wow.  I've never really thought about this. . . (Probably because I've never actually completed a story. . .)  I'd have to say the Middle, because it's usually chock-full of juicyness.  Right smack in the middle of the action and what characters are made of.  Am I right?  But I also enjoy writing the Endings.  Simply because they have the triumphs, redemption, and peace that the characters lived, died, sweated, and bled for -- making it all worth it in the end.

What are your writing habits? Is there a specific snack you eat? Do you listen to music? What time of day do you write best? Feel free to show us a picture of your writing space!
          I try to keep my water on hand.  And my browser ready, just in case I need a Pinterest visual of a character, place, building, etc. And then I try to exit said Pinterest as quickly as possible to continue my story and pursue the goal of upping my word count for the day.  Not really any specific snacks, although Reeses peanut butter cups have been my one weakness as of late. . . 

          The only time I've found best for me, on the days I work especially, has been in the evenings.  I take from 8:00-10:00pm (and sometimes till 11:00) to write as much as possible.  If I don't get my sleep, I'm basically a sloth come the morn. . . (Plus, I have a hubby now who also needs his sleep.  Though there have been nights where he'll stay up reading while I write, and I'll finish up, snuggle under the blankets, and he's STILL reading.  It's nice to have a man who enjoys his books as much as I!)  :]

          No photo. . . Sorry.  But I usually crash on the couch.  Hmmm. . . no music either, really.  I get distracted way too easily.  But when I am in the mood, I'll pull up YouTube movie soundtracks.  How to Train Your Dragon is a fave for writing anything

How private are you about your novel while you’re writing? Do you need a cheer squad or do you work alone (like, ahem, Batman)?
          I definitely need encouragement.  And my hubby has been just that.  As well as my blogger/writing buddies!  Couldn't do it without y'all.  Seriously.  One of my love languages is Words of Affirmation.  If I didn't have your encouragement, I'd be a wailing mess.

          Regarding privacy. . . Well, I used to be very secretive with my stories.  It was hard to share with my family what I was working on, because I was afraid of what they might think.  But over the years, that has changed and I crave the feedback!

What keeps you writing even when it’s hard?
          My ultimate goal:  PUBLISHING.  I don't know when it will happen.  I don't really know IF it will happen.  But that will always be my goal.  My life has taken on many new and exciting chapters, and who knows exactly what's to come?  I've found that when the words are tough in coming, and I would rather just lay down and read or surf the web, I remind myself of my current goal of reaching 50k and then the ultimate prize of publication.  Others have accomplished this.  Why can't I?? 

What are your top 3 pieces of writing advice?
  1. Have fun.  No matter what!  I've had to remind myself to do this.  Even if, by the end of November, my word count is quite a bit under 50k, I want to be able to say I've had a blast and my story has progressed considerably.
  2. Aim high & aim for the goal.  There's no shame in reaching for the high expectations.  But there is in how you react regarding whether or not you've made it.  I don't want to consider myself a complete failure if there's not 50k words written by November's end.  But if I aim straight for it, and give my best, then I can say with all my heart, "Well done.  That was great fun!"
  3. Go for the unpredictable.  Try it!  That's what makes a great story.  No need to explain further. :]

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So.  How's your NaNo progressing??  What are your personal writing goals?  Are you participating this year?  And if so, what is your story about?  I welcome comments!

Oh & by the way, what do you think of this new design??
I know I've changed designs rather recently already, but the other one just had too many glitches I couldn't think straight.  Extremely pleased with this one.  Thank you, Etsy!