A Fresh Batch of Book Reviews #10

I have three excellent books to recommend for your summer reading!

Cultivate: A Grace-Filled Guide to Growing an Intentional Life

I was drawn to this book because I love gardening, but even non-gardeners will gain insight and inspiration from this lively book.

Lara Casey is a successful businesswoman and creator of PowerSheets. She was at the top of her game career-wise, but her personal life was falling apart. She uses the metaphor of a dying orchid, forgotten and drying up on a corner of her desk, to describe her life years ago.

When she began to reevaluate her priorities and recommitted her faith, she gave that orchid a drink. In time it began to develop leaves and flowers, and hope flourished in her life again. This book is a testament to the power of God’s plan to work newness of life into our hearts.

Lara shares her story with inviting transparency. Her story includes marriage problems, miscarriage, and adoption. I could relate to many of her heartaches and struggles, and I appreciated her honesty mixed with motivational quotes. Her overall tone is light-hearted and fun. Subtopics include trusting in God’s timing, growing a healthy focus, and cultivating relationships. I enjoyed her creative gardening metaphors throughout the book.

One of my favorite quotes:

Planting seeds is risky. It’s putting our trust in something bigger than we are. It’s optimism and faith.

This book also includes a group discussion guide. It’s a brisk, easy read for individual or group study.

I received a free copy of this book in exchange for my honest review from the Booklook Bloggers program.

Coffee for Your Heart: 40 Mornings of Life-Changing Encouragement

I am a huge fan of Holley Gerth’s blog and the (in)courage online community she co-founded. I jumped at the chance to review this recently updated book.

On a balmy Saturday afternoon, I held this small but powerful book in my hands as I read it through on my front porch. Within the first few chapters, tears entered my eyes, because God was speaking to me through its pages.

This book is divided into forty brief readings, which are deep and thought-provoking. Each reading has three probing questions that are ideal for personal growth. I also enjoyed the “Remember” section, an inspirational reminder for each day.

Holley writes with compassion and sensitivity. Each chapter includes a quote or phrase from another book or story, which adds to the depth of study.

The chapter I liked best was Chapter 12, “Empowered.” Here’s my favorite quote, as I had never considered this truth before:

But the power that is ours through Christ is limitless and indestructible. If it were converted into electricity, it could light the world for all eternity.

This book will help you dwell in God’s presence each day and deepen your relationship with Him. It’s small enough to fit in your purse, yet it has plenty of room to record your answers.

I received a free copy of this book from Harvest House Publishers in exchange for an honest review.

Real Artists Don’t Starve: Timeless Strategies for Thriving in the New Creative Age

I’m also a big fan of Jeff Goins. His blog and online courses have powerfully shaped my writing career. Since I’m an artist as well as a writer, I was eager to learn what Jeff has to say in this book.

I’m only a few dozen pages into this book, and I am enjoying it immensely. As a creative person, I’ve often wondered if I can make a living full-time from my creations. Just this year I jumped full-time into the freelance life, and I’m loving it. But I still have days when I wonder if I can create a sustainable income.

Jeff lays out a specific plan in this book for becoming a successful creative person. He debunks twelve common myths and replaces them with empowering truths that offer hope. His plan is action-oriented and inspiring, and it’s giving me lots of new ideas and hope for my career.

He shares many stories of historical and contemporary figures to show how they succeeded without starving. I enjoy these sneak peeks into the lives of people like Michelangelo, Vincent van Gogh (my favorite artist), John Grisham, Jim Henson, and many others. I appreciate these stories because they show how regular, everyday creative people reached their potential with lots of hard work and networking. My dreams seem more in reach to me after reading their stories.

Jeff’s invitation to join the new renaissance is irresistible. If you’re a creative person, you’ll love this book!

I received a free copy of this book from the BookLook Bloggers program in exchange for an honest review.


If you liked this post, I would appreciate your shares on social media!

You’re invited to join my brand-new, four-part mini course on Trusting God in Times of Transition.

Sign up here to join my free course!


This post will be linked up at #mommymoments, #mondaymusings, #dreamtogether, #glimpsesofhisbeauty, #soulsurvival, #modestmommondays, #theartofhomemakingmondays, #mondayminute, #lmmlinkup, #tuestalk, and #teaandwordtuesday. Visit my linkups page to find links to these wonderful blogs.

Disclosure: Some of the links above are affiliate links.

  • Amy Jung

    Hi Sarah! I’m currently reading Jeff Goins’ book! Loving it! I can tell you’re a follower. You do much of what he suggests. I hope you will be blessed in all of your endeavors. I just signed up for your course!

    • Sarah Geringer

      Thank you for signing up, Amy! That’s a HUGE blessing for me. Yes, I do take action on lots of Jeff Goins’ suggestions. His Intentional Blog course has shaped this blog, and his emails/blog posts have helped me develop my platform. Hope I get to tell him in person someday how much he’s helped me!

  • Deanna Cornell

    Holley’s books are a huge inspiration for me when I am having less than stellar days. I love “what my heart needs for the hard days.” I am sure this one is great too.

    • Sarah Geringer

      Hi Deanna! I’m sure you will love this book. I like her other books too, and I find them inspirational. Blessings to you!

  • Amy Pawlukiewicz

    Great reviews! I can’t wait to check out Real Artists Don’t Starve.

    • Sarah Geringer

      Hi Amy! Thanks for your visit. This book was so positive and inspiring. I hope you like it as much as I did!