Are you an avid reader looking for your next "fix"? Can't bear to be without some form of reading material in your spare time? Welcome to my world! Whether you are seeking a new book to "feed your need", or you are an author seeking an unbiased point of view on your own recent masterpiece, this is the place to be. With life as with books, you never know where the next step might take you...

Saturday, July 11, 2020

RRR presents... A CORNISH DAISY'S KISS by Laura Briggs - GUEST POST!

Hi there!
Welcome back to Satisfaction for Insatiable Readers.

Today, we've got a special guest via Rachel's Random Resources ready to "meet" all of you as we introduce her latest release and get you familiar with her other works.  Sound good?  GREAT!  So, the woman is question is author Laura Briggs.  The title we're celebrating sounds like a lovely read indeed, but here...see for yourself...

A Cornish Daisy's Kiss
A Little Hotel in Cornwell, Book 6
Laura Briggs

About the book...
Weeks after boarding a train to Paris in pursuit of her writing dreams, aspiring novelist Maisie Clark is right back where she started: on the idyllic shores of Port Hewer in Cornwall, luggage in hand and heart filled with anticipation for what lies ahead. Except that nothing seems the same as Maisie left it, from her place among the staff at the hotel Penmarrow to her budding romance with groundskeeper Sidney Daniels, who isn’t quite ready to overlook the painful consequences of her sudden departure. 

Losing Sidney would be unbearable, but Maisie can’t help fearing it might be true if the rift between them proves too deep to heal. She knows her feelings for him are unchanged, but whether he feels the same remains to be seen—particularly since she stopped him from expressing them in the first place. And to make matters worse, her position at the Penmarrow has been filled by another, there’s nowhere for her to live in the village, and her savings are finally dwindling to a pathetic number – with her book still unpublished after her startling discovery about the author helping guide her towards success. 

But one thing which hasn’t changed is the drama and excitement at the hotel Penmarrow, where the staff is awaiting inspection from the dreaded owner Ms. Claypool. Stirring up trouble in the meantime is the owner’s special guest ‘Mad Ludwig’, an eccentric architect whose demands are definitely driving everyone on the staff a little crazy. And then there’s the hotel’s mysterious new desk manager, whose behavior ignites Maisie’s suspicions and causes her to become entangled in yet another form of intrigue—one that could unwittingly jeopardize the future of the Penmarrow and everyone who works there, unless Maisie can find a way to undo the harm.

With everything that matters to her most at stake this time, Maisie faces her biggest challenges yet...and her deepest question of the heart as she confronts the reason she returned to Cornwall and the Penmarrow in the first place.


Sounds good, right?
Yeah, I thought so too...but, I was also CURIOUS about the author's writing.  Her style, her path taken, and how challenging she found writing a series in a the first place!  I mean, I for one would probably be stumbling upon similar passages in previous released titles, and drawing a blank on how to give things that extra bit of, let's hear from an expert of sorts on how it's REALLY done!


~~~   GUEST POST   ~~~
Keeping a Long-Running Romance Series Fresh
by author Laura Briggs

A huge thank you to Gina for letting me share a bit about the books in my feel-good romance series ‘A Little Hotel in Cornwall’. Its sixth installment, A Cornish Daisy’s Kiss, made its debut this summer, with would-be novelist Maisie Clark returning for more adventures at the grand hotel by the sea. As always, she’s facing a dilemma or two when it comes to matters of the heart, but with more at stake this time when it comes to what matters most in her life.

With any multi-book series it can get a little challenging to keep the momentum going from story to story, as many authors would no doubt agree. Thankfully, in the case of Maisie’s escapades, readers have made it clear which elements have kept them turning the pages thus far—and I thought it might be lovely to share what fans of the series say makes them come back for each new installment (many of which are the same reasons it’s so much fun to write, as it happens!).

The heroine’s quest:

For Maisie, this has been to give her writing dreams the best possible shot at success. Which meant an impulsive trip across the pond to seek her favorite author’s advice on her novel-in-progress to start with. Then posing as a chamber maid at a grand Cornish hotel where he supposedly stayed as a guest...and from there it only gets crazier, as Maisie finds herself tangled up in the everyday magic of the hotel Penmarrow, the seaside village, and a certain handsome groundskeeper she can’t help falling for. But she hasn’t given up on her dream of becoming a novelist, even when the path to her goal takes some unexpected twists and turns, as it frequently does, of course. 

A complicated romance:

From the moment they crossed paths, Maisie’s connection with groundskeeper Sidney Daniels has been anything but simple. With his devil-may-care charm and mysterious past, Sidney seems a risk for any sensible girl’s heart. But Maisie isn’t terribly sensible, as her actions have already well-proven. Always on the verge of something more, their ‘friends only’ policy was just to keep from getting swept away at first. But it’s far too late for that now—Maisie’s feelings are committed whether it’s heartbreak or happy-ever-after waiting as the outcome. 

Exciting events and eccentric characters:

The more unique events hosted at the hotel Penmarrow have ranged from a so-called sΓ©ance with a celebrity psychic to an exclusive auction for a Hollywood star’s movie memorabilia. It’s all a bit dramatic and over-the-top...and so are the guests who attend them, of course! But these sort of unusual gatherings are part of what gives the Penmarrow its ever-changing ‘anything can happen’ atmosphere that readers say makes getting lost in the series’ pages an escapist treat at the end of a busy day. 

If all this sounds like your cup of tea, I hope you’ll be sure to check out the books in the series. For those of you who already enjoy Maisie’s Cornish escape, be assured there are more secrets, surprises, and fun to come in the remaining two stories, with book seven already on pre-order!


Laura Briggs is the author of several feel-good romance reads, including the Top 100 Amazon UK seller 'A Wedding in Cornwall'. She has a fondness for vintage style dresses (especially ones with polka dots), and reads everything from Jane Austen to modern day mysteries. When she's not writing, she enjoys spending time with family and friends, caring for her pets, gardening, and seeing the occasional movie or play.


Special thanks to Rachel at Rachel's Random Resources for the chance to bring this tour to you. (THANKS!) For more information on this title, the author, this promotion, or those on the horizon, feel free to click through the links provided above. Be sure to check out the rest of tour for more bookish fun!

Until next time, remember...if it looks good, READ IT!

Thursday, July 9, 2020

RRR presents... FINDING LOVE AT HEDGEHOG HOLLOW by Jessica Redland - REVIEW!

Hi guys!
Welcome back to Satisfaction for Insatiable Readers.

Today, we've joined ranks once again with the ever fabulous Rachel's Random Resources to bring you a stop along a wonderful little tour featuring the work of author Jessica Redland.  The story you're about to catch a peek of with the darling cover and heartwarming title is all that it looks like and more...PROMISE.  Ready or not, let's take a trip to a place you never expected to be and yet were meant to arrive at just the same with...

Finding Love at Hedgehog Hollow
Jessica Redland

About the book...
Can love really be found when you stop looking for it...?

As Samantha Wishaw watches the love of her life marry another woman, she’s ready to give up hope of finding her happy ever after.

But when a chance encounter leads Sam to find friendship in Thomas - a lonely, grumpy elderly widower living at derelict Hedgehog Hollow - her life is about to change forever.

Glad to have a distraction from family feuds and match-making, Sam vows to fulfill Thomas and his wife, Gwendoline's, dreams of restoring Hedgehog Hollow to its former glory, and to open a hedgehog rescue centre.

Throwing herself into the task at hand, little does Sam realise that the keys to love and happiness may also be found at Hedgehog Hollow, when she least expects it...

Escape to Hedgehog Hollow this summer with top 10 bestseller Jessica Redland for the perfect uplifting, feel-good read.

πŸ¦”     πŸ’—     πŸ¦”     πŸ’—     πŸ¦”

Top 5 Things You Should Know Before Getting a Hedgehog - College ...

This story had me by the heartstrings the entire time.
Sam had more than a little bit of ups and downs, but with the kind words of her Gramps ringing in her ears, she never truly gave up.  She had a wonderfully giving nature, always thinking of others before herself, and yes, sometimes it was to her own detriment, but there's never a wrong time to be nice.  There's never a bad moment to show compassion, turn the other cheek, or even if it means a happier heart in the end, cutting ties.  She gave up so much in her life, unknowingly of course, and in the time we get to know her, she still loses even more, but we also get to see the blessings her good nature eventually returns to her.  Everyone gauges riches differently, but to me, she was top notch.  She may have wanted different things from her life, yet by book's end, she can see the forest for the trees, or perhaps better put, the meadow for the flowers.  The lives she touched and was touched by, the friendships she lost, gained, and rebuilt anew along the way, the familial connections that gained new strength as she added new members to the clan by choice versus blood, and finally, yes finally, her chance at true, meaningful love.

I had a wonderful time in Hedgehog Hollow and despite the bad times she experienced, the good always won out.  Take a trip to a place overflowing with character and characters. A place where good people look out for each other, and there's always room for one more at the table.  A place where home truly is where the heart is.

πŸ¦”     πŸ’—     πŸ¦”     πŸ’—     πŸ¦”

About the author....

Jessica Redland is the author of nine novels, including The Secret to Happiness, which are all set around the fictional location of Whitsborough Bay. Inspired by her hometown of Scarborough she writes uplifting women’s fiction which has garnered many devoted fans.


πŸ¦”     πŸ’—     πŸ¦”     πŸ’—     πŸ¦”

Special thanks to Rachel at Rachel's Random Resources for the chance to bring this tour to you. (THANKS!) For more information on this title, the author, this promotion, or those on the horizon, feel free to click through the links provided above. This title is available now, so click on over to your favorite online retailer to snag your copy today and be sure to check out the rest of the tour for more bookish fun!

Until next time, remember...if it looks good, READ IT!

Tuesday, July 7, 2020


Hi there!
Welcome back to Satisfaction for Insatiable Readers.

Today, we're back again with Rachel's Random Resources and a stop along their current promotion featuring the work of Delia Pitts.  Here to satisfy your bookish cravings, we have a SPOTLIGHT, special EXCERPT, and YOUR CHANCE TO, if you're ready, let's get this party started!  Ladies and gents, please welcome our title in the spotlight...

Pauper and Prince in Harlem
A Ross Agency Mystery
Delia C. Pitts

About the book...
 A vulnerable kid. A brutal enemy. An addled ally. Blood runs cold on Harlem's hottest summer night when Drive-by assassins shoot up a crowded playground, killing the teenaged friend of private eye SJ Rook. Only fourteen, the kid was smart, affectionate, and alive with potential. His sudden death strikes the cynical Rook through the heart. Was this boy the victim of a cruel accident? Or was he targeted by gang hit men in a ruthless display of power?

 To find the killers, Rook must enlist the help of another teen, Whip, a mysterious runaway witness. Whip is a transgender boy whose life on the streets has drawn him into the realm of a violent mob kingpin. Damaged by his mother's rejection, Whip doesn't want to be found. Not by the cops or by community do-gooders. And certainly not by Rook, a resolute stranger with vengeance on his mind. Rook's search for the elusive kid becomes a dangerous trek through the meanest corners of his neighborhood.

 Racing from desolate homeless camps to urban swamps, from settlement houses to high-rise palaces ruled by greed and corruption, the determined Rook pursues his quarry. An unexpected twist in the detective's relationship with his crime-fighting partner, Sabrina Ross, threatens to derail his mission. Noble tramps, vicious thugs, and a pint-sized trigger woman also complicate Rook's efforts to protect Whip. When a mob prince and a hobo hold the boy's life in the balance will Rook's grit and imagination be enough to save Whip and bring the killers to justice?



!!!   EXCERPT   !!!

In this passage, Harlem private eye SJ Rook traverses a homeless camp to meet a hobo who may hold valuable clues to the whereabouts of the young witness Rook is determined to find.

Fifty people stirred in the warehouse, mostly black men with dashes of other races salting the crowd. I kept my eyes low to study a group gathered halfway down the room’s great length, looking for my quarry. I saw him before he spotted me. The boy was crouched in front of a mattress, balancing on the balls of his feet in apparent ease, nodding at a man’s animated conversation. The man was seated on the bare pad, his short legs thrust straight in front of him. The boy’s keen eyes tracked the movements of the man’s face, and both their mouths gaped in amusement. Despite the sudden horror he’d witnessed in the park, the kid was happy here. At home.

"I paced toward the pair, shoulders up, stride long, movements overt. I wanted information from them, and that required trust. Or at least a lack of fear. Even though night temperatures blasted past eighty, the old man was wrapped in a purple wool overcoat and wore thick gloves. He jammed a gold knit cap over bushy gray hair as if fighting his own personal winter. The moon slanting through the high windows captured him in a bolt of silver that made his face and figure glow like a sculpture in a museum. His skin was dark and smooth as a river-polished stone. Newspapers and magazines were stacked to one side of the mattress. At the other edge was a grocery cart filled with flattened cardboard boxes, folded clothing, kitchen and garden tools, and a busted boom box.

"Though he was facing the boy, the man's milky brown eyes focused on the far end of the hall. I walked in a wide circle around the pair, passing through several clusters of people. I lost sight of the two as I rounded a cast-iron column. By the time I got to within twelve feet, the kid had vanished into the crowd. 

"I crouched at eye level before the old man, who scooted over the mattress to give me room. As I settled, I imitated his posture, thrusting my legs straight in front. Side by side, it was easy to take his measure: his legs extended no further than my knees. He was perhaps five feet tall to my six one.

"A foggy tenor voice slid from the moth-eaten coat. “Whip tells me you the dude been tailing him. Are you?”

"He tilted his large head. It might have been a trick of the light, but gears seemed to shift behind his eyes, snapping a piercing assessment of me. The moon turned his pupils molten, like drops of mercury slipping from a broken thermometer.
Is Whip the boy’s name?” That’s what Zaire had called him, but I didn’t reveal it. The man nodded, waiting for my explanation. “He witnessed bad things in the park this evening. You know anything about that?” Not offering much, but since I knew so little, taking that stance was easy.
No more than what he told me. A drive-by shooting took out a young kid. Whip ran, you trailed him six blocks. That’s what I heard tell. You got anything else?”


About the author...

 Delia C. Pitts is the author of the Ross Agency Mysteries, a contemporary private eye series including Lost and Found in Harlem, Practice the Jealous Arts, and Black and Blue in Harlem. She is a former university administrator and U.S. diplomat, who served in West Africa and Mexico. After working as a journalist, she earned a Ph.D. in history from the University of Chicago. She has published more than sixty fan fiction titles under the pen name Blacktop. Pauper and Prince in Harlem is the fourth novel in the Ross Agency Mystery series. The fifth, Murder My Past, will be released in 2021.



~~~   GIVEAWAY   ~~~

(1) of (5) paperback copies of Pauper and Prince in Harlem

*Terms and Conditions –Only USA entries welcome. Please enter using the Rafflecopter box below. The winner will be selected at random via Rafflecopter from all valid entries and will be notified by Twitter and/or email. If no response is received within 7 days then Rachel’s Random Resources reserves the right to select an alternative winner. Open to all entrants aged 18 or over. Any personal data given as part of the competition entry is used for this purpose only and will not be shared with third parties, with the exception of the winners’ information. This will passed to the giveaway organiser and used only for fulfilment of the prize, after which time Rachel’s Random Resources will delete the data. I am not responsible for despatch or delivery of the prize.


Special thanks to Rachel at Rachel's Random Resources for the chance to bring this tour to you. (THANKS!) For more information on this title, the author, this promotion, or those on the horizon, feel free to click through the links provided above. Be sure to check out the rest of tour for more bookish fun!

Until next time, remember...if it looks good, READ IT!

Monday, July 6, 2020

Silver Dagger Book Tours presents... BILLIONAIRE'S CLUB from C.L. Donley - SPOTLIGHT + GIVEAWAY!

Amara's Calling 
Billionaire's Club Series Book 1 
by C.L. Donley 
Genre: Contemporary Romance 

Looking for your next billionaire book boyfriend? Meet Grayson Davis. 

He's a brilliant, bullied computer nerd turned handsome playboy, with a penchant for blondes. She's the assistant to the assistant, who works on the third floor and is... not blonde. And secretly obsessed with him. Complete with all the classic "plain Jane" tropes you thought were hopelessly overdone, read the smart, sexy, binge worthy debut exceeding "billionaire romance" expectations! 

Amara's Calling is the first book in the Billionaire's Club series of sinfully sexy romances. If you like unexpected love, lucrative deals, and billionaires with as much prowess in the bedroom as the boardroom, then you’ll love C.L. Donley’s steamy office affair. 

Mya's Pride 
Billionaire's Club Series Book 2 

Mya McIntosh is attending the wedding of the year as the maid of honor to her best friend Amara Davis, the former employee and wife of billionaire social media mogul Grayson Davis. A dazzling destination wedding in Spain seems like the perfect setting for Mya to finally lose this pesky virginity of hers, but her prospects don't look promising. Amara has high hopes that Mya could land one of Grayson's billionaire best friends but Mya isn't so sure, especially when it comes to Grayson's obnoxious business partner Dale Abernathy. After a few awkward moments, bad first impressions, a ton of assumptions and a sexy interlude on top of a hill, Mya's search for Mr. Right Now lands her somewhere she least expected: in love. 

Kim's Courage 
Billionaire's Club Series Book 3 

The final book in the Billionaire's Club Trilogy! 

A year after her best friend Amara's wedding united them, Kim Pritchard finds herself in the hospital with the baby she conceived with billionaire internet mogul Bel Hafiz. Not only has Kim neglected to tell Bel about his son, now she will have to tell him he's fighting for his life in the NICU. Since the handsome middle eastern playboy "ghosted" her, she wonders if he even cares enough about either of them to reach out. Little does she know that Bel Hafiz has plenty to hide, including the fact that he hasn't been able to get the gorgeous, one-of-a-kind Kimberly Pritchard out of his head, or his heart. 

C.L. Donley is a future New York Times and USA Today Bestselling Author of multicultural and interracial romance, who believes romance novels that are impossible to put down are the only kind that should exist! Armed with a B.A. in English and M.A. in Writing, she is new to the romance game, having written her first novel, Amara's Calling, after discovering the romance genre in September 2017. Donley writes in a style she calls "romantic realism" that is sophisticated yet simple, grounded yet unapologetically escapist, and character-driven rather than plot-driven. This style creates a unique, modern reading experience ideal for book club discussions, personal epiphanies, satisfying re-reads, and the occasional spiraling reviewer! Love it or hate it, fans and critics alike can't deny her talent, and always find themselves coming back for more! 

She loves hearing from readers and discussing her favorite parts of her own books, so feel free to indulge her. 

$25 Amazon 

Follow the tour HERE for special content and a giveaway! 

Sunday, July 5, 2020


Hi there!
Welcome back to another day, another post here at Satisfaction for Insatiable Readers!

Today, we've got another Rachel's Random Resources tour featuring a new title via Harlequin Books/Mills & Boon.  It's a Historical Romance (ooh la la!) from a new to me author, but hey...I'm always ready with a pen and paper to add something new to my wish list! Let's check out the overview and then get between the pages!

The Rebel Heiress and the Knight
Melissa Oliver
Mills & Boon

About the book...
She must marry the knight
By order of the king!

Widow Eleanor of Tallany Castle knows her people are broken by the taxes demanded by King John. So when she’s ordered to marry Hugh de Villiers, a knight loyal to the king, she’s furious—even if he is handsome! As gallant Hugh begins to heal the scars of Eleanor’s abusive first marriage, she’s even more determined to keep her secret: she is the outlaw the king wants to send to the gallows!

US  |  UK


!!!   EXCERPT   !!!

The extract below is a scene after the shock of discovering that the missive by King John demands that Hugh de Villiers and widow- Lady Eleanor Tallany become betrothed to one another. Knowing the king as he did, Hugh is reluctantly reconciled to his fate but Eleanor has different ideas- especially as her first marriage was a total disaster.
This is a snippet of their conversation later, in private….

‘I had thought or rather hoped, that I might be forgotten, especially now that I’m an old widow.’
‘An old widow? You cannot be more than twenty, my lady.’
‘I’m one and twenty, sir.’
‘You’re right, you must be ancient,’ he chuckled, shaking his head. ‘And as for being forgotten? That is not possible.’
Eleanor rolled her eyes and walked to the arched window, peering outside. ‘No, not for all the riches I bring.’
‘That is not the only thing, my lady.’ He followed her. ‘Tell me, are you always so forthright in your manner?’
‘I speak as I find,’ she said with her back to him.
‘Even though it’s not usual for a lady of your standing to be so…blunt.’ Eleanor heard him move toward her and was no doubt standing behind her.
‘I suppose you could say that I do not possess the necessary maidenly manners that I’m sure you’re used to, Sir Hugh.’
‘You surprise me. Why do you not possess those maidenly manners?’
‘There was never any need,’ she muttered, turning around to face him. No need for a brute of a husband whom she’d come to despise and the king he’d served so faithfully as this man did before her.
‘Is that so?’ he said as she shrugged her shoulders. ‘You would if you came to court, my lady, instead of burying yourself up here. Why didn’t you?’
Lord above, how had this man managed to get himself in the position of interrogator? He was good, dangerously good. Eleanor would have to watch her step with him.
‘I was otherwise indisposed.’
‘Ah, and is that why you ignored the summons of your king?’
‘Of course not. You now appreciate that I had not been well,’ she said.
He inclined his head. ‘Indeed. I am glad to see you in good health now, my lady.’
Eleanor exhaled slowly, surprised that she had been holding her breath.
‘Well, Sir Hugh, what are we to do about our…. predicament? You know King John, as I do not. How do we get out of this unwanted marriage?’
‘There is no way out of our predicament, as you call it. Once King John sets his mind on something, he is not easily swayed.’
‘Surely there must be something we can do.’
‘Would you refuse your king?’ He looked shocked, affronted even.
‘Sir Hugh, I am named after the king’s mother and my own served as one of her ladies when she was queen. My family have always been loyal subjects, so you will understand if I don’t honour your question with an answer.’
‘Very well, but be under no illusion. There is no question of refusing the king’s request of our betrothal. He would think it a huge insult and it would be in all our interests not to persist with that, my lady.’
There was no denying the mild warning, laced in what he was saying. Yes, Eleanor was right to be cautious with Sir Hugh de Villiers. Still, she couldn’t resist a little probing of her own.
‘Do you always do everything the king bids?’
‘Naturally, I’m sworn to him. I may be a soldier and not an ideal husband but if this is what King John wants, then so be it.’
‘As easy as that?’
‘It has to be,’ he said softly, watching her as she bit her lip, turning away. How? How was she going to get him to understand that this was an impossible situation for her to be in? Yet she knew that no amount of explanation would change the course her life was once again taking.
He was still staring at her. ‘So, my lady, are we in agreement?’
‘No.... no, we are not.’


About the author...

Growing up in Richmond- Upon-Thames, Melissa Oliver used to walk past the old Mills and Boon offices as a teen, and wistfully sigh that one day her dream of writing for them will come true. Amazingly, after all these years, it finally has...& now she can bring all those stories out onto the pages of her books. Melissa lives in south-west London with her gorgeous husband and equally gorgeous daughters, who share her passion for castles, palaces and all things historical.


Special thanks to Rachel at Rachel's Random Resources for the chance to bring this tour to you. (THANKS!) For more information on this title, the author, this promotion, or those on the horizon, feel free to click through the links provided above. Be sure to check out the rest of tour for more bookish fun!

Until next time, remember...if it looks good, READ IT!

Saturday, July 4, 2020

RRR presents... FRESH EGGS AND DOG BEDS 2 by Nick Albert - EXCERPT!

Hi there!
Welcome back to Satisfaction for Insatiable Readers.

For those of you that hail from the grand old US of A, Happy Independence Day!  Best recommendation...celebrate it in a social distancing fashion because the COVID-19 numbers are still on the rise, and it's better to be safe right now, than sorry., we've teamed up with Rachel's Random Resources to bring you their latest tour and we've not only got a uniquely titled work, but an excerpt from same said work!  Ready?  Set?  Read all about it...

Fresh Eggs and Dog Beds 2:
Still Living the Dream in Rural Ireland
Nick Albert
Ant Hill Press

About the book...
Nick and Lesley's desire for a better life in the countryside was a long-held dream. Unforeseen events and a leap of faith forced that dream into reality, but moving to rural Ireland was only the beginning of their story.

Foreigners in a foreign land, they set about making new friends, learning the culture and expanding their collection of chickens and unruly dogs. But their dream home was in desperate need of renovation, a mammoth task they attacked with the aid of a DIY manual, dwindling funds and incompetent enthusiasm. With defunct diggers, collapsing ladders, and shocking electrics, what could possibly go wrong?

Will their new life live up to expectations, or will the Irish weather, dangerous roads, and a cruel twist of fate turn this dream into a nightmare?



!!!  EXCERPT  !!!

An exclusive extract from Fresh Eggs and Dog Beds 2, written by bestselling author Nick Albert and published by Ant Press.

Although Nick and Lesley Albert moved to Ireland on a whim, their desire for a better life in the countryside was a long-held dream. Unforeseen events and a leap of faith forced that dream into reality, but getting to Ireland was only the beginning of their story.
Now foreigners in a foreign land, they set about making new friends, learning the culture and expanding their collection of chickens and unruly dogs. But their dream home was in desperate need of renovation, a mammoth task they attacked with the aid of a DIY manual, dwindling funds and incompetent enthusiasm. With defunct diggers, collapsing ladders, and shocking electrics, what could possibly go wrong?

In this scene, Nick and Lesley have decided to add some new faces to their flock of chickens. 

With a larger pen at our disposal, we had decided to double our flock. Six chickens were not exactly extreme farming, but nonetheless, these were exciting times!
I collected the box from the car and carried it to the coop, where Lesley was waiting, along with Little, Nugget and Drumstick, who were patrolling the wire and hoping for a tasty treat. When we entered the cage, Lesley sprinkled some wild bird seed at one end of the enclosure, while I carefully placed the open box at the other end. Being the dominant hen, Nugget excitedly barged through the crowd and began selecting the best seeds to eat. Confident there was enough food to go around, the more laid-back Little casually sauntered along, pecking unhurriedly at whatever happened to be nearby. And the ever-friendly Drumstick, ignored the seed and squatted at Lesley’s feet, with her neck arched and wings splayed, hoping to receive a fuss.
At the opposite end of the cage, I was trying, somewhat unsuccessfully, to introduce our new chickens to their future home. Although they had been unceremoniously shoved into the box by the Chicken Lady, the hens now appeared to regard it as home. Aside from that brief moment of curiosity while I was walking through Dunnes, these new hens were showing no interest in leaving the secure warmth of their cardboard box. One of them had even laid an egg. I put it in my jacket pocket, making a mental note to avoid creating an accidental omelette.
“They don’t want to come out,” I said to Lesley.
“You’ll have to pick them up.”
“Owww!” I squealed. “One of them nipped me.”
“They’re probably not used to being handled,” my wife said. “They might be a little defensive for a while.”
“You think?” I mumbled, sucking the blood from the back of my hand.
“Tip the box a bit,” she suggested.
I did. There was a scrabbling sound, but the chickens remained in situ.
“Give it a shake,” she advised.
I did. Again, nothing happened. I imagined the chickens linking arms and bracing their feet against the walls as they fought against the law of gravity. Tipping the box upside-down, I gave it a violent shake. Their makeshift home suddenly became three chickens lighter. There was a squawk, and an ominous thud.
“They’re out,” I said casually.
At the sudden appearance of three interlopers to her territory, Nugget spun around, fluffed up her feathers to appear as large as possible, and eyed them suspiciously. At the same time, Drumstick hid behind Lesley’s legs, peering out uncertainly. The ever-casual Little just shrugged in indifference and continued feeding. The untidy pile of new hens quickly sorted themselves into a sub-flock, with legs at the bottom and heads at the top. For a couple of minutes they pecked about uncertainly. Then, as if by common consent, they huddled into a group and sat down in a patch of damp mud.
“They’re probably not used to being outside,” Lesley observed.
I tried waving my arms and shooing them along, but they just hunkered down and glared at me accusingly.
“Perhaps if we leave them for a while, they’ll relax a bit and join the others,” I suggested.
“I guess so,” Lesley shrugged. We went indoors.
A little later, it began to rain. I checked on our new chickens several times throughout the afternoon, hoping they had integrated into the flock, but they remained stubbornly huddled in a group, looking sullen and damp. Around dusk, I checked again. Nugget, Little and Drumstick had gone to roost in the coop, but the new chickens were still sitting in the same puddle. I couldn’t leave them outdoors all night, at the mercy of foxes, pine martens and owls. There was nothing for it, I would have to move them into the coop by hand.
“Oh, now you decide to run about!” I growled as the chickens scattered before me.
If I could only herd them into the caged part of the coop, then I could shut the door. The hens would still be wet and a little cold, but safe from predators. They may even climb the ladder and roost with the other hens. Using a slow walk combined with some cooing and a little gentle arm flapping, I set about herding the group of hens towards the coop. We almost made it, but at the last moment, Nugget descended the ladder to investigate the kerfuffle. In an instant, the flock split apart, moved to opposite corners of the cage, and eyed me suspiciously. Happy her work was done, Nugget returned to her bed.
For the next ten minutes I chased our new hens through a succession of geometric shapes. We did squares with rounded corners, straight lines, a trapezoid, a convex octagon and finished with a very pretty irregular decagon, all without ever getting my stretched fingers within an inch of a tail feather. Eventually, I tired of walking like an ape under a low tree and gave the whole idea up as a bad job.
Indoors, my wife glanced up from the chicken husbandry book she was reading and eyed her mud-speckled husband.
“Leave them until it gets dark,” she said, tapping the page with her finger.
And she was right. In complete darkness, aided only by the failing glow from my bicycle lamp, I was able to pick up each hen in turn and transfer them to the safety of the roost, without so much as a squawk or ruffled feather. In the morning, all six chickens were feeding and scrapping at the earth as if they were lifelong friends.
“Shall we call them Faith, Hope, and Charity?” Lesley suggested.
“That’s not what I called them last night,” I growled.
“Be kind,” she chided, nudging me in the ribs.

And so, despite the fact that they all looked identical, our new hens acquired names.


About the author...

Nick Albert was born in England and raised in a Royal Air Force family. After leaving College he worked in retail management for several years before moving into financial services where he quickly progressed through the ranks to become a training consultant. As a very passionate and reasonably talented sportsman, Nick had always wanted to use his training skills towards creating a parallel career, so in the mid 1980's he qualified and began coaching sport professionally. After a health scare in 2003 and in search of a simpler life, he and his wife Lesley, cashed in their investments, sold their home and bought a rundown farmhouse in the rural west of Ireland - a country they had never before even visited. With little money or experience and armed only with a do-it-yourself manual, they set about renovating their new home, where they now live happily alongside a flock of chickens, two ducks and several unruly, but delightful dogs.

In 2017 Nick was signed to Ant Press to write a series of humorous memoirs about his life in rural Ireland. Fresh Eggs and Dog Beds (book one) was published in September 2017 and soon became an Amazon bestseller. Book two in the series was published on 1st June 2018 and book 3 in August 2019. Book four is due out in 2020.

Nick is also the author of the twisty thriller, Wrecking Crew, the first in a series of books featuring reluctant hero Eric Stone.


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