Summer Reading List – Bricking It

by Tiffany in Book Reviews

Bricking It Book ReviewI bought and read (or rather listened to) this book because it was a daily deal from Audible. I used to be a member of Audible because I adore audiobooks and I have earbuds in my ears roughly 40 hours a week. I am not a member anymore because I am pinching pennies but I still get their daily deals in my email inbox. Everyday they offer a new audiobook for a super low price…usually $2.95 to $4.95.

Bricking It Book Review

I look at the daily deals, read the reviews, and 9 times out of 10 I pass. Bricking It though just sounded like a winner based upon the reviews and oh it was.  It was pure joy from start to finish.

The story is basically about a brother and sister who inherit a very old, very neglected victorian farmhouse from their grandmother. When they find out what it can bring on the market if they renovate it, they decide to do just that. The sister is still shell shocked after a bad divorce to a verbally abusive man. The brother is really just a slacker with no real motivation in life. But they come together to do this crazy renovation and this brings into their lives an equally crazy cast of characters as they try to find the cheapest contractors they can.

To add a fun twist, the architect they hire is personal friends with a television celebrity who does reality TV renovations. So imagine that you buy a house, hire the help, and then one day you show up to see The Property Brothers at your new home. It would be my dream!

A slew of rich characters enter their lives while fixing the home (including a cow). They manage to identify a pot growing operation in their back garden. And they find clue after clue inside the house that ultimately leads them to a shocking revelation about their grandmother. The home’s history, the scandal surrounding it, and the fact that they had no idea who their grandmother was in her younger days, make for a delightful read. Once all is revealed, the siblings cannot help but think their grandmother knew they were directionless and flailing in their lives. She perhaps knew that her “secret” might help them discover that everyone can reinvent themselves when they find themselves hitting rock bottom and overcome any obstacle.

What I loved most about this book is that I was laughing and crying while listening to it. I am sure I looked like a loon but I could not help it. The adventures with Pat the Cow, the discovery of vintage sex toys on live TV, the no working bathroom situation, had me rolling. The end had me furiously wiping tears away…in a good way though because the book is not sad, just beautiful and inspiring.

I highly recommend it and if you like audiobooks definitely go with the audio version. The narrator for the brother has one of those phone book voices…as in I would happily listen to this guy read the phone book. Just click the link above and then click again on the “sample” icon below the image of the audiobook to hear a sound byte of that deliciousness. Hello!



Read Brightly Giveaway for Little Bookworms

by Tiffany in Book Reviews

Books? Giveaway? Where do I sign up?!

Yes, I have been a big time book lover since I was a child and this love is one I hope that I am instilling in my own kids. Books are a huge part of our lives and will continue to be so…well forever, I hope. I get warm fuzzies when my kids are excited to accompany me to the library and pick out a new batch of books. I am thrilled when they ask for book fair money. Books are a perfectly acceptable habit to have because this habit makes you smarter and more creative.

Well a great online resource called Brightly feels that love too.The resource aims to help parents to raise lifelong readers and book lovers and they are giving away a bundle of books perfect for your kiddos.


Just in time for the holiday season, books make an awesome gift. Remember that saying “something you want, something you need, something to wear, and something to read.” Well how about six somethings to read? Brightly is giving away a bundle of 6 books from their popular list, The 50 Best Books for 5 and 6 Year-Olds! The total approximate value is $69.94!

The Read Brightly Giveaway is open to US residents age 18 and older at the time of entry. Void where prohibited. There is no purchase necessary to enter, but you can only enter once per email address. The giveaway ends on November 12, 2015 at 11:00PM EST. Good luck!


This post was written in association with Brightly, all opinions are my own.



It’s Your Kid – Not a Gerbil

by Tiffany in Book Reviews

its your kid bookNowadays it is all to easy to fall into the trap of becoming overly busy and over scheduling our kids. We have things that are important for us perhaps… church, volunteering, learning music, math club, and the like. Then there are the things they want like dance, sports, play dates, and all that fun kid’s stuff that seems so important each day. Our days may begin to fee as though we are running on auto-pilot and going through the motions. We spend more time in the mini-van bouncing from event to event then we do at home.

The book It’s Your Kid – Not a Gerbil is all about creating a less stressed, happier life. It battles the very idea that busy hands are happy hands and gives us some insight into why we might want to slow down and schedule less. Much of that is prioritizing and choosing activities wisely and it is also about making sure the home environment is a place the entire family wants to be, so they won’t feel the need to find stimulation elsewhere.

One aspect of the book that I loved was that it addresses the idea that our kids become the center of the universe as far as we or they are concerned. All of the effort we put into making sure they have all these opportunities and experiences is actually more likely to result in a selfish child who takes and takes, rather than gives. Not only can the over scheduling phenomena be exhausting for all involved it can be harmful for their future. Sooner or later they WILL be slapped with the reality that they are not the center of the universe. By that time it may mean they can’t hold a job or be a good spouse.

Another issue is that all the activities kids are involved with can be a source of pride for the parents. Retraining for all family members may be in order. Being so invested in your kids means you have lost a part of yourself and are living through them, which is not good for anyone.

If you need to slow down and get off the wheel I recommend this book. It is all about creating a happier family life, happier kids, and a less stressed mom and dad.


5 Books I Read This Week – Bacon, Anti Aging, and Dystopian Romance

by Tiffany in Book Reviews

I love to read. I just wish there were more hours in the day so I could read lots more than I do. This week I am reading a mish mesh of fiction and non-fiction. Oh and cookbooks because dinner has been uninspired lately and I want to change that.

Right now I am reading or have read the following…

beyond bacon
Beyond Bacon

Mmmmm…bacon. We go through it like crazy in this house but we also like the rest of the pig quite a bit and this cookbook is crazy good. After I devoured it and dogeared it my husband stole it and immediately started talking about how we need to raise pigs. Sounds good to me!

everyday paleo italian

Everyday Paleo Around the World: Italian Cuisine: Authentic Recipes Made Gluten-Free

This book was a birthday gift to me from my bloggy friend Stephanie at Good Girl Gone Green. I adore Italian food and when we went paleo I thought my days of eating this type of food were sadly a thing of the past. This cookbook though really delivers with paleo inspired Italian meals, surprisingly so. The author actually lived in Italy while writing the book and reading about her experiences there is very entertaining and informative. I cannot wait to make some of these meals…


I just re-read this again this week because the second and third books are now out. I just cannot keep up  with all the books series that I like! Anyway this one is set in the future where what is left of society is completely controlled by government and if you choose to marry you have to be “matched” with the person they deem to be most compatible for you. Cassia is dismayed to uncover a glitch during her matching ceremony and she caches a glimpse of a second boy that is also her “match”. Society tells her the first boy is her true match and the second one can never be. Yet she finds herself seeking the second boy out and eventually falling in love with him. Now she has to choose between her family and society or a path no one else has dared to follow. It is a really, really good book and I cannot wait to dig into the other two!

primal moms

Primal Moms Look Good Naked: A Mother’s Guide to Achieving Beauty through Excellent Health

I bought the Kindle version of this book after I read another blogger’s review recently. I did not enjoy it as much as that reviewer though. Don’t get me wrong it has lots of good and useful advice but it is aimed at young women who have yet to have children and what they can do to prevent the damage we associate with childbirth. It’s kinda way late for those who already HAVE children. Also (and I could be wrong) but I would be surprised if the author has not had breast implants. It’s kinda hard for me to stomach books about ‘natural’ beauty when you see surgical intervention at work there.

77 anti aging tips

77 Outrageously Effective Anti-Aging Tips & Secrets

This is a Kindle book and only costs $2.99. If you don’t have a Kindle don’t let that keep you from buying because neither do I. I use the free Kindle reader and I read the books on my phone, computer, or tablet. Easy peasy.

Anyway, this book is well worth the money. I highly recommend it. It is jam packed with lots of great advice on healthy eating, lifestyle, supplementing, and how to stop the signs of aging. I bought because I have stopped drinking green smoothies during the fall/winter and my skin was not so happy. The book inspired me to start drinking aloe vera juice in my water and BOOM, skin back to normal! It also got me dry brushing again (which I already knew was amazing). This is a great buy.

What are you reading??? Share below!


I Promise Not to Suffer – Hiking From Mexico to Canada

by Tiffany in Book Reviews

I-Promise-Not-To-SufferHiking is a big love of mine. As I have mentioned before it has always been a dream of mine to through hike the AT (Appalachian Trail) which runs from Georgia to Maine. It takes about six months to do and I have read about a dozen books written by hikers who have made the journey. I read these books and dream about “someday”. I want to know as much as I can about what it takes mentally and physically to do these long distance hikes. I also love reading about the adventures of others.

Despite all my reading about the AT ( and my obsession with long distance hiking) I had never once picked up a book about the infamous long distance hike on the other side of the country. It is called The Pacific Crest Trail (PCT) and it also takes six months to hike, running from Mexico to Canada (2,663 miles).  Last week though I made the leap and read a wonderful book about one woman’s journey on the PCT. It is called I Promise  Not to Suffer by Gail Storey. The author and her husband did the hike together after he quit his  job as a hospice doctor. Gail insisted upon joining him and their journey is touching, inspiring, and funny. The chapter that addressed the issue of sex on the trail had me smiling. I have always dreamed about my husband and I doing one of these long distance hikes and the issue of sex has never been addressed in my reading, that I recall. Does one even want to go there after hiking 20+ miles every day? Ditto for the sweat and caked dirt. Finally I have my answers, LOL. Though it has its share of serious too… exhaustion, animal encounters, grumpiness with each other, trail injuries, etc. The author also has to deal with dangerous weight loss and her mother’s prolonged illness back home.

Just before reading this book I wondered why I had never read a memoir about the PCT before, since I have read so very many about the Appalachian Trail and I think I figured it out after the first couple chapters. The thought of hiking any trail that includes a huge portion of desert…kinda freaks me out. I was raised in the Southwest (Arizona) and I spent years hiking and camping all over that beautiful state. I know desert and I know how wondrous and terrifying it is. I know how the sun beats down on you until you feel as though you are literally cooking on a skillet. I know heat exhaustion and how hard it can be to find water. I know how it can be blazing hot during the day and freezing at night, in the spring and fall. I know how prevalent and dangerous the rattlesnakes and mountain lions are. I lived on a property that had both in abundance. So yeah…I think that is why I chose to ignore the PCT because the desert part is kinda “been there, done that”!

Still this book has me longing to give it a go. I want to ford a river in the Mohave desert, see the mountains of the High Sierra, and travel through the lava fields of Oregon. Mostly I want to know if I have what it takes to get though a hike such as this. So far I have been unable to get my husband excited about the notion but I still dream of the day when he and I can attempt it together. We CrossFit together…can we hike from Mexico to Canada together?

If you love travel and adventure memoirs or you love hiking I highly reccomend this book. I know it has now spurred me to look for other books about the Pacific Crest Trail.

I was selected for this opportunity as a member of Clever Girls Collective and the content and opinions expressed here are all my own.