A Review of “Defiant Joy” by Kevin Belmonte

Defiant Joy: The Remarkable Life & Impact of G.K. Chesterton by Kevin Belmonte is something like a biography of G. K. Chesterton.  Though, it is like a biography, it is not a biography, it is more like a source book with lots of little paragraphs that bring the larger block quotes together.  In essence, this book is a tribute to all of those who have written about G. K. Chesterton and so it is a tribute to Chesterton, but it is not a significant biography in and of itself.

The promise of this book is the study of a great man, the downfall is that the author neither adds anything substantial to the conversation nor seems fit to even craft his own sentence about the man.  In short.  I’m not a fan.  I’m sure there are dozens of books about Chesterton that are worth reading.  Though this one quotes many of those, there is nothing of interest in Defiant Joy other than the topic it so miserably pursues.

That one should attempt to write about such a large literary figure with so little literary diligence is an egregious crime against the man about whom it was written.  The book seemed rushed with many of the same block quotes being used just pages apart. Reading this book made it seem more like a rough draft of a paper lengthened to meet a page quota than an actual print worthy book.

The retail price is $16.99 (paperback), and is available around the web in places like Amazon.com for $11.55.  I gave it two stars.


Disclosure of Material Connection: I received this book free from Thomas Nelson as part of the BookSneeze program. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own. Some of the links in the post above are “affiliate links.” This means if you click on the link and purchase the item, I will receive an affiliate commission. Regardless, I only recommend products or services I use personally and believe will add value to my readers. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255: “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.”

John Bunyan (Christian Encounter Series) – Book Review

John Bunyan (Christian Encounters Series) is a great introduction to the life and times of John Bunyan the famous author of Pilgrims Progress.  The book is quite brief, but serves as a great background study on a man who lived through an incredible time in history.  As an avid Bunyan fan I am always looking for more material to put into the hands of others to help them understand the literary genius of this ‘simple’ man who wrote one of the most widely read classics in English literature.

The book is not heavy with details, but rather takes a simple, yet scholarly approach to the life of Bunyan.  It would be a great biography for energetic middle school students to read.  I can see it as a handy companion to read along side of Pilgrim’s Progress which is Bunyan’s most famous work.

If you are looking for a complete biography of John Bunyan, this isn’t it.  But if you are looking for an introduction to the life of Bunyan, that isn’t daunting or too challenging, this is it.  I see this as being a handy reference book on the life of Bunyan.  Speaking as one who has read a few Bunyan biographies and host to a Christian Heritage Conference that centered on the life of Bunyan I wasn’t disappointed to read this book, I was excited that a biography was written on this level to introduce more young minds to the life of a great man.

John Bunyan (Christian Encounters Series) is a great introduction to the life and times of John Bunyan, I highly recommend it.  The retail price is $12.00 (paperback), and is available at places like Amazon.com for $8.65.  I gave it four stars.

Disclaimer: As a blogger I received a complimentary review copy from the Thomas Nelson’s Book Review Blogger program  (http://brb.thomasnelson.com/ ).  There was no requirement to give it a positive review, just for the reviewer to call it like they see it.

Name Your Link

How to Get Free Books (Part 1)

If you are a blogger there are several publishing companies through which you can get free books.  For the next few weeks I will share my experiences with a few of these companies and how you too can get free books in exchange for a book review.

I review for BookSneeze

I first learned about the BookSneeze program through Thomas Nelson CEO Michael Hyatt’s Blog.  I signed up and was soon getting free books for review.  The BookSneeze program in my estimation is one of the easiest programs to use.  Basically you log on to the main page, enter in your information, your interest, and request a book to review.  A week or two later you receive the book, read it and write a brief review.  Reviewers are asked to post on their blog as well as a consumer website like amazon.com.  After you have completed your review and posted a link to both your blog and your review on a consumer website you can request another book.


You get Free Books

You have plenty of time to review the book

The program is easy to use

You can view other blogger reviews


You can only get one book at a time

You get books after the have already hit the market

Thomas Nelson has streamlined the process and made it easy for even beginning bloggers to log in and figure out how things work.  I highly recommend the BookSneeze program if you are new to writing book reviews or new to blogging.  So far I have received and written reviews for 8 books through Thomas Nelson. Compared to the other programs I give it a 4 out of 5.

How to Get Free Books (Part 2)

How to Get Free Books (Part 3)

Review: The [expanded] Bible

The [E_200_350_Book.75.coverxpanded] Bible (a modified version of the NCV) by Thomas Nelson Publishers is a great resource for readers who are looking for a clearer understanding of the biblical text.  The expanded Bible presents the base text of the Bible translation in a bold print and then additional information for each phrase or verse in a lighter text.  The idea behind the expanded Bible is that when the Bible is translated from the original languages to another (like English) that bits and pieces can get lost in the translation.  It would be a bit like watching the Wizard of Oz in black and white (translation) versus color (original language). The ideas come across, but nuances are missing.   The expanded Bible attempts to help bridge the gap and fill in the details that are lost in translation (making the yellow brick road shine and the ruby red slippers glisten).

The Expanded Bible is very easy to use.  The notes are easy to locate and understand.  The headings are placed to the side and a one inch margin provides a great place for reader notes.   Unlike a traditional Bible it is difficult to read in a continuous fashion, due to the notes being included in the text.  However I have found it to be a great aid as a study Bible for the very same reason.

For Bible study there are better tools available, but this book serves its purpose well in providing a quick reference and helping to grasp a particular passage. As supplemental study material, or for those looking for an easy to use bible study tool The Expanded Bible is an excellent resource. The retail price is $29.99 (Hardcover), and is available at places like Amazon for $13.59.

Disclaimer: As a blogger I received a free review copy from the Thomas Nelson’s Book Review Blogger program  (http://brb.thomasnelson.com/ ).  There was no requirement to give it a positive review, just for the reviewer to call it like they see it.