Sunday 23 February 2020

Blog tour Q&A with Lorna from On The Shelf Reviews

Q&A with Nick Albert:

Can you tell me a little bit about your book?
‘Fresh Eggs and Dog Beds’ is the first in a five-book series of humorous memoirs chronicling our quirky lives since we gave up the stress and pollution of modern Britain and bought a derelict farmhouse in beautiful rural Ireland – a country we had never before visited. Hindered by a lack of experience and money, we combined our optimism and enthusiasm with a second-hand DIY manual and set about renovating our new home. Since then, we’ve rescued seven dogs and two cats, become reluctant chicken farmers and learned to live life at a slower pace. Along the way there were many thrills and spills, some sadness and tragedy, but overall our new life has brought us lots of laughs. We really are living the dream! 

Where did the inspiration for your book come from?
As an Englishman living in Ireland, I’m frequently asked, “Why did you move here?” This happy event usually occurs at dinner parties, soon after I’ve cornered some unsuspecting stranger in the kitchen. Lacking what most people would consider appropriate social filters, I tended to treat that polite ice-breaking enquiry as a genuine expression of interest, requiring a comprehensive answer and perhaps a slideshow of photographs. After a few minutes, these poor unfortunates would either pretend to have a heart attack, or politely slip under my arm mumbling, “You should write a book.”
Okay, that’s not entirely correct! In truth, I was extremely lucky to find a publisher with vision and patience who loved my story. Even though they disliked the rambling manuscript I’d already written, they could see the potential for five or more memoirs and were prepared to work with me for a year while I wrote the first Fresh Eggs and Dog Beds book.   

If you could describe your book in one sentence what would it be?
The comical tale of an English couple and their unruly dogs searching for a better life in rural Ireland. 

What is a typical writing day like for you?
I like my routines and need to have a clear desk and a focused mind before I begin writing. Every morning after breakfast, I’ll take my dogs for a long walk through the forest or across the moorland surrounding our house. After some exercise and a shower, I’m usually ready to write by around 11am. Ideally, I’ll start my workday by catching up with emails, fan mail, social media and other marketing tasks. It’s amazing how much stuff authors have to do these days, outside of research and writing. On a good day, my desk is clear and I’m ready to write by around 2pm. I have a strict rule not to work beyond 6pm, except for when my wife is away in England visiting family. If I’m close to a print deadline and feeling the need for a little more writing time, I’ll announce a period of ‘Digital Detox’. It’s rather a false economy as there’s usually a bunch of catching up to do when I go back online, but sometimes the writing has to take priority.
If you could recommend just one book to read what would it be and why?
If I could only have one book, it would be the life story of British Air Force pilot Robert Stanford Tuck, ‘Fly for your life’ written by Larry Forrester. Not only is it a cracking tale of bravery during the Battle of Britain and whilst he was a prisoner of war, it’s a really well written memoir.
Who are your favourite authors?
Hmm. That’s a tough question to answer honestly.  My book collection is somewhat eclectic; I’m not sure what that says about me. As well as a library, I have dozens of stacked boxes bulging with hundreds of golf books, biographies featuring authors from all walks of life, loads of thrillers, some sci-fi and the complete works of Sue Grafton, Lee Child, Tom Holt, Terry Pratchett and William Shakespeare. I’m never without a book. One secret I can reveal, if I’m writing comedy, I’ll only read thrillers – and vice versa. When I was a student living in Norwich, England, my first flat was next door to the best second-hand bookshop in the city. What heaven! Back then I read a lot of sci-fi books and thrillers, purely for the escapism. Because I was from an Air Force family, I also collected hundreds of military biographies. Other favourites in my collection were Clive James, David Niven and Spike Milligan. These books were treasured possessions, I still have most of them now. 

Tell me something interesting about yourself (that’s not in your author bio!)
At the age of 14, when I still had hair and before I acquired wrinkles, I worked as a professional actor on stage and TV. Before my dad convinced me I’d be better off with a proper job, I even did a little modelling! 
What are you currently working on?
I’m well into writing book four of the Fresh Eggs and Dog Beds series. At the same time, I’m working with Andy Stevenson, who is doing an awesome job narrating the Audible audio version of book three.

Blog tour book review by gingerbookgeek

My Review
I usually review fiction books but every so often, I do love to read a good non-fiction book.  Well they do say that a change is as good as a rest.  The eye catching, bright cover immediately caught my attention and I loved the synopsis of the book.  I eagerly started to read the book.  Having just finished reading ‘Fresh Eggs & Dog Beds’, all I can say is that I thoroughly enjoyed reading it, but more about that in a bit.
This book appealed to me from the start because I just love the idea of trying to eliminate as much stress as possible from your daily life and moving somewhere new to start afresh.  I loved reading all about the experiences that the Alberts went through when they relocated to Ireland.  Not all of the experiences were that positive but the Alberts found their strength and powered through as it were.  In other words, the journey wasn’t always smooth as they hit the occasional bump in the road but they found a way over them.  It didn’t take me long to get through this book and it was definitely a fun and easy read.
‘Fresh Eggs & Dog Beds’ is well written.  The fact that this is a memoir and not a fictional story meant that I viewed it slightly different.  It was describing somebody’s life and I felt privileged to have been allowed into the lives of the Alberts.  As I mentioned above, the road to a new life wasn’t always easy for the Alberts but I loved the way in which they found humour in even the most trying of circumstances.  Through Nick’s very vivid and realistic descriptions I did feel as though I got a real feel for rural Ireland.  I loved the various characters that the Alberts came across, I loved the idea of upping sticks and relocating somewhere new to start afresh and I loved the way in which the author writes with humour and wit.
In short, ‘Fresh Eggs & Dog Beds’ is an easy, fun and witty read, which I would definitely recommend to other readers.  I fully intend to read the other books in the series just as soon as I can.  The score on the Ginger Book Geek board is a very well deserved 4* out of 5*.

Blog tour review by donnasbookblog

I love the cover for this book and it suits the book really well!
The people in the book are fabulous, I thought that they all had great personalities and it was really fun getting to follow the story with them too.
I thought that this was a well written memoir and I loved it from start to finish – it is a funny and heart-warming story – and it times they were really selling moving away to me too!  I can’t wait to read the second book now too!
I loved the author’s wit, it was a great story to read – it is 5 stars from me for this one, I really, really enjoyed it!

Friday 21 February 2020

Blog Tour Audible review by book blogger Brown Flopsy's Book Burrow

Fresh Eggs and Dog Beds: Living the Life in Rural Ireland is the first part in Nick and Lesley's adventure to find the perfect quiet, country life, away from the stresses and strains of modern Britain - taking us from when they made their decision to completely change their lives, through to the early days in their new home.

Nick and Lesley's story is well narrated by Andy Stevenson, who handles the different voices and accents beautifully, and skilfully draws you into their trials and tribulations, just as if you were sitting there on Nick's shoulder.

The early chapters do go along a bit haltingly at first, with the timeline going back and forth a bit confusingly, but Nick Albert soon gets into his stride and the story flows wonderfully from then on.

There is so much humour here, stemming from the absurd situations Nick and Lesley experienced and the crazy characters they meet, that I found myself laughing out loud a lot with this audio book.  But there is plenty of deep emotion too, as our couple struggle with the stress of the move and the sorrows and joys that come with everyday life. I also learned a whole lot about rural Ireland that was pretty eye-opening!

By the time I got to the end of the audio book, I almost felt that Nick and Lesley were old friends and I was leaving their story too soon.

I can't wait to read the next instalment of Nick and Lesley's life in Ireland in Book Two: Still Living the Dream in Rural Ireland: Fresh Eggs and Dog Beds.

Blog Tour Audible book review from author and blogger Jane Hunt

My Thoughts…

I don’t do many audiobook reviews, but they are great, for someone like me. I can work on something else, whilst I’m enjoying the story someone is reading to me, it’s like being a child again, lovely.
This escape to the country, or strictly speaking escape the UK, is an interesting memoir. Full of life events affecting Nick and his wife, as they decide to give up the rat race and move to rural Ireland. I expected lots of life experiences and mishaps as the couple lived the dream in a rural idyll. Eventually, this is what you get, but first, there are many chapters, on how the couple got to this point in their lives. There are comical, poignant and interesting moments, in these early chapters, but this section could be much shorter and still provide a snapshot of life before Ireland.
The couple’s first trip to Ireland and their house search, introduces many colourful characters, lots of humorous moments and interesting facts on Ireland, the housing market and economy in the early twenty-first century.
The difficulty of buying a house in Ireland is surprising These events are retold in an upbeat humorous way, but you can appreciate how stressful this was for the author.
The dogs and chickens have fabulous personalities, and you can see how much they are part of the family. There are also some poignantly sad animal moments, which all of us, who share their lives with animal friends will empathise.
Life in Ireland is never boring, I loved the chapter where Nick moves in, on his own. His experience with the oil fired boiler reminded me of my own experiences with the same sort of boiler. Country living is not for the faint-hearted.
The memoir is authentic and honest. This is a realistic view of escaping the rat race, the problems are numerous, but the will to make the change, is stronger, and ultimately they succeed. This first book, on living the dream in rural Ireland, is factual, humorous, motivational and poignant The narrator is engagingly good, and the memoir flows well. I enjoyed my day listening to this.

Blog Tour book review by Dash Fan Book Reviews

4☆ A Heartwarming, Fun and Witty Memoir.

Firstly I want to say how much I love this fun, eye catching book cover! 

Fresh Eggs and Dog Beds is a heart warming, Witty, Memoir of starting over and escaping the rat race.

Nick has had a pretty serious stress attack and his friend and Dr warns him if he don't slow down he might not be so lucky next time.

Armed with that scary knowledge, Nick resigned from his extremely high pressured job. Nick and his wife Lesley decide that they need a change from the hustle and bustle of the UK so they decide to relocate to Ireland.

But as with all moves nothing ever goes quiet according to plan.
So we follow Nick and Lesley's trials and tribulations of moving and setting up home in Ireland.

I thoroughly enjoyed all the humour and wit throughout, it was a fun, very entertaining, heart warming story, with some poignant and emotional moments.
It was an honest, eye opener account of the stresses and strains of relocating and starting over. 
All the little stories were fun and cleverly weaved, allowing the plot to flow.
The Characters were quirky, brilliantly written and believable. Oh and all the adorable animals was a definite winner for me! 
My only lil thing would be that some of the beginning of the story could of been processed a lil bit shorter, as it did take a bit of time to get into the story.

But overall i definitely recommend reading this heart warming, Witty, Memoir with it's gorgeous eye catching book cover!