Smorgasbord Cafe and Bookstore – Author Update – Reviews – #YAMystery D.L.Finn, #Memoir Liesbet Collaert, #Family Judith Barrow.

Welcome to the Wednesday Cafe and Bookstore update with recent reviews for authors on the shelves.

The first author today is D.L. Finn with one of the early reviews for her YA  mystery Dolphin’s Cave.

About the book

The dream always begins the same way for fifteen-year-old Coral Dover. She enters the ocean alone and ends up in a cave on the back of a dolphin. It’s happened every night for the last eight years since her parents disappeared. Coral longs to visit the place where her parents’ plane went down, and she finally gets her wish when her aunt takes her on a working vacation to Hawaii. When Coral notices unusual things happening around her, only one other person believes her. Will they discover the secret that could change everyone’s lives? Can Coral keep her family safe as she pursues her dream?

One of the early reviews for the book

D. W. Peach 5.0 out of 5 stars Magical tale for tweens and young teens  Reviewed in the United States on December 14, 2020

Coral is a teenager who’s lived with her aunt since her parents died in a mysterious plane crash in Hawaii. She has repeating dreams of riding dolphins to a golden city, but she always wakes up before the dream’s secrets are revealed. With another family, including their teenage kids, Ben and Beth, Coral and her aunt head to Hawaii for a vacation. Coral is determined to find out what happened to her parents and learn the meaning of her dreams.

The story is told from Coral’s POV. She’s a believable character and true to her age. There’s an appropriate focus on things teens enjoy, and her experiences with young love are sweet. She and her group enjoy some of the tourist-based highlights of Oahu and Maui, while in the background there are darker forces at work – several nefarious characters are spying on Coral and targeting her aunt.

The pace is moderate and the setting well researched. As the plot ramps up, the magical world of the golden city bursts in on an otherwise real-life narrative with all kinds of fantastical creatures like unicorns and dragons, healing powers and royalty. The murderous goals of the bad guys become clear as Coral learns the secrets of her dream and magical heritage. I was too “old” for this read, but do recommend it to tweens and young teenagers, especially girls

Read the reviews and buy the book: Amazon US – And: Amazon UK

A selection of other books by D.L. Finn

Read the reviews and buy the books: Amazon US – And: Amazon UK – Follow D.L. Finn: Goodreads – Website: D.L. Finn Author –  Facebook: D.L. Finn Author – Twitter: @dlfinnauthor

The next review today is for Liesbet Collaert and her memoir Plunge: One Woman’s Pursuit of a Life Less Ordinary. 

About the book

Tropical waters turn tumultuous in this travel memoir, as a free-spirited woman jumps headfirst into a sailing adventure with a new man and his two dogs.

Join Liesbet as she faces a decision that sends her into a whirlwind of love, loss, and living in the moment. When she swaps life as she knows it for an uncertain future on a sailboat, she succumbs to seasickness and a growing desire to be alone.

Guided by impulsiveness and the joys of an alternative lifestyle, she must navigate personal storms, trouble with US immigration, adverse weather conditions, and doubts about her newfound love.

Does Liesbet find happiness? Will the dogs outlast the man? Or is this just another reality check on a dream to live at sea?


Have you ever wondered how life could be if you had made different choices? If you didn’t marry early, commit to a large loan for the house, focus on your career, start a family?

Maybe you’re just curious about how a person thinking outside the box manages? A person without boundaries, striving to be flexible, happy, and free. What you are about to read is how one such person follows her dreams, no, her intuition, and how she survives her naivety, life altering twists, and a relationship in close quarters.

Plunge is a story of what happens when you go with the flow, when you have a bright idea – or thought you had one – and ride the waves of the unknown. Ready to hop aboard and delve in?

One of the recent reviews for the book

Jill Weatherholt 5.0 out of 5 stars Take the plunge, we only live once!  Reviewed in the United States on December 17, 2020

For several years, I’ve been a follower of Liesbet Collaert’s blog “Roaming About” where she shares the nomadic lifestyle she lives with her husband Mark. When I learned she was writing a memoir, I waited patiently, knowing it would be fantastic. Liesbet did not disappoint. From the first page of PLUNGE – One Woman’s Pursuit of a Life Less Ordinary, I was immediately drawn into their unique way of living.

Most people would think they’d hit the lottery if they were able to do whatever they wanted, or go anywhere they desired. Life on a catamaran or traveling the US by RV would be a dream come true for many. But despite the beautiful surroundings, life as a nomad comes with challenges and stress those living a routine 9 to 5 lifestyle could never imagine. Liesbet’s honesty and openness throughout the book is to be commended. She reveals her heart to the reader, making her story so much more than a travel memoir. It’s about questioning the choices we’ve made in life and what’s truly important to us.

This inspiring memoir is one you won’t be able to put down until you’ve reached the end. Of course, if you follow her blog, the story doesn’t end as she and Mark continue to share their adventures.

Read the reviews and buy the book: Amazon US – And: Amazon UK – Find more reviews on: Goodreads

Also by Liesbet Collaert

Read the reviews and buy the books: Amazon USAnd: Amazon UK –  Follow Liesbet: GoodreadsBlogs: Roaming About Cruising the World the way it is – Facebook pages: Personal Liesbet CollaertRoamingsabout – ItsIrie – Twitter: @LiesbetCollaert

The final author today is Judith Barrow with a review her latest book – The Memory.

About the book

Mother and daughter tied together by shame and secrecy, love and hate.

I wait by the bed. I move into her line of vision and it’s as though we’re watching one another, my mother and me; two women – trapped.

Today has been a long time coming. Irene sits at her mother’s side waiting for the right moment, for the point at which she will know she is doing the right thing by Rose.

Rose was Irene’s little sister, an unwanted embarrassment to their mother Lilian but a treasure to Irene. Rose died thirty years ago, when she was eight, and nobody has talked about the circumstances of her death since. But Irene knows what she saw. Over the course of 24 hours their moving and tragic story is revealed – a story of love and duty, betrayal and loss – as Irene rediscovers the past and finds hope for the future.

The new novel from the bestselling author of the Howarth family saga

One of the recent reviews for the book

Lizanne Lloyd 4.0 out of 5 stars Compelling story of 20th century women  Reviewed in the United Kingdom on 29 November 2020

Irene tells her story in dual time. Now in 2002 she has reached the end of her tether. Exhausted with taking care of her mother who suffers from dementia and incontinence and only sleeps fitfully, she relives a memory that her mother never mentions and she feels she must do something for her sister Rose, who died so many years before.

Irene had been offered the opportunity of a rewarding career as a teacher, as well as the love of Sam whom she had known all her life, but she has given up her happiness for the sake of her devotion to those she loves. First, she took care of Rose, who had Down’s syndrome, then when her Nanna became gravely ill, she nursed her. When faithful Sam gave her love and companionship she ended up providing care for his sick father and finally she was drawn back to her wayward mother, feeling compelled to live in the house which still seems to be haunted by Rose.

Seeing events through Irene’s eyes doesn’t prevent the reader from realising how badly she treats Sam. His patience is almost unbelievable until he takes time out, working away from home. When their long-awaited child fails to come, even the kindness of friends who give them a temporary home does not prevent Irene trapping herself with the mother she once loved before Rose was born.

This 20th century story addresses many problems of women in a time of great change. The urge to be a mother, carer and homemaker contrasts with the ambition to achieve and to make a difference. Society’s approval and understanding easily turns to disapproval and misunderstanding. At times tremendously sad, the novel also shows social features and friendship in a world before mobile phones, the internet and Netflix. In a tale full of “What ifs” it is good to see Irene finally moving forward in the new century.

Read the reviews and buy the book :Amazon UK – AndAmazon US

Also by Judith Barrow


Read the reviews and buy the books:Amazon US – and:Amazon UK – Follow Judith:Goodreads – blog: Judith Barrow – Twitter: @judithbarrow77


Thank you for dropping in today and I hope that you will be leaving with some books.. Thanks Sally.


58 thoughts on “Smorgasbord Cafe and Bookstore – Author Update – Reviews – #YAMystery D.L.Finn, #Memoir Liesbet Collaert, #Family Judith Barrow.

  1. A wonderful collection of reviews, books, and authors Sally. I’ve read other work by D. L. Finn and always enjoy her stories. Judith’s is on Kindle and TBR (which grows each day!!).
    Congratulations to all of the authors featured here!

    Liked by 5 people

  2. What a lovely surprise to find Plunge featured here today with Jill’s wonderful review, Sally. Thank you so much for sharing the news with your readers and for placing me in such accomplished company!!! Hope you are well and off to a good start of 2021! xxx

    Liked by 3 people

  3. I have so many excellent books waiting on my Kindle – I need to find some serious chunks of time to enjoy them now. The first two books are calling to me and I love Judith’s The Memory.

    Liked by 3 people

  4. Pingback: Smorgasbord Blog Magazine – Weekly Round Up – January 3rd – 9th 2020 – Breakfast Show, 1960s, Poetry, Book Reviews, Health and Funnies | Smorgasbord Blog Magazine

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