Smorgasbord Cafe and Bookstore Update – #Reviews – #Mystery James J. Cudney, #Memoir Liesbet Collaert, #ParanormalThriller John W. Howell and Gwen Plano

Welcome to the Friday edition of the Cafe and Bookstore with recent reviews for authors on the shelves.

The first author today is James J. Cudney with a review for Legally Blind Luck (book 7 the Braxton Campus Mysteries)

About the book

Surprising new family members. A hidden talisman. Deadly curses. Horrific murder. Months after tragically losing a loved one, Kellan learns his relative’s death wasn’t an accident.

Someone discovered Queen Tessa’s cursed talisman, and a rogue government agent will stop at nothing to retrieve the heirloom. Too bad it changed hands during an anonymous auction and found its way on campus. Moments before Braxton’s controversial art exhibition opens, Kellan stumbles upon another murder victim. It appears he might be next on the avenger’s list too.

Will Kellan protect Tessa’s true heir and prevent a killer’s nefarious plan from ending the curse? Given all the suspects have ties to prominent Braxton citizens, he’s uncertain whom to trust. Together, Kellan and Sheriff April are determined to solve the mystery via legal means or purely through blind luck.

One of the recent reviews for the book on Goodreads

Jul 29, 2021 SA Krishnan rated it five stars

Entertaining read.

Kellan is one of the most hilarious detectives I have read about in recent times. His supporting cast deserve a special mention and Nana D and April, stand out of the crowd.

Among the others, what surprised me is the complex relationships between the people.

Fox is really something. I nearly laughed out aloud when I came to know his real name.

The mystery about Queen Tessa and the missing figurine and Uncle Zach’s death all came together as an intricate puzzle and the way Kellan gets about solving the pieces was an enjoyable read.

The cosy mystery was thoroughly entertaining at all levels.

A selection of other books by James J. Cudney

Read the reviews and buy the books: Amazon US and: Amazon UKWebsite/Blog: This is my truth nowGoodreads: James J. Cudney – Twitter: @Jamescudney4

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

Rachel Caldecott 5.0 out of 5 stars Exceptionally honest  Reviewed in the United States on August 9, 2021

I’m not particularly into sailing (I went a few times when I was in my teens), I don’t particularly like beaches (give me an ancient ruin any day), and I don’t like putting my head underwater (I’m a wuss). BUT, I was riveted by this book. I’m now even more convinced than before that the sailing life is not for me.

Like all really good memoirs, it is incredibly honest, and the reader can easily recognise themselves in parts. Liesbet even has the courage to reveal her less than noble thoughts.

There were certainly moments when I thought that either the author or her husband would find themselves tipped into the ocean never to be seen again. You really got a sense of the frustrations of living together in cramped conditions under dangerous situations. The honesty of her feelings about sickness and death was refreshing, if not sometimes uncomfortable. (I don’t want to give any spoilers). But she did make me cry a few times.

Liesbet wrote in the present tense, which I thought was an unusual move for a memoir, but it worked very well for the action scenes (of which there are many) and for the inner voice; the writer’s confessional.

Highly recommend this book and look forward to more 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 CollaertRoamingsaboutItsIrie – Twitter: @LiesbetCollaert

My final review  today is for The Contract: Between Heaven and Earth by John W. Howell and Gwen Plano.

About The Contract

The earth is threatened with a catastrophic political event which could result in international warfare and destroy all life on the planet. In heaven, a divine council decides that extraordinary measures are essential. They call for an intervention that involves two souls returning to earth. The chosen two sign a contract that they will work to avert the disaster.

Brad Channing, a Navy SEAL, and Sarah O’Brien, a teacher, become heaven’s representatives on earth. The story follows them as they individually and then together face overwhelming obstacles and eventually end up on a strategic Air Force base in California. It is there that they discover a conspiracy to assassinate the President of the United States. The terrorists have a plan for global dominance and they are determined to complete their mission. Although military leadership appears to have the President’s best interests at heart, it is not clear who can be trusted and who should be feared. The action is rough and tumble as Brad and Sarah try to figure out the culprits for the plot that will turn into a worldwide conflagration unless stopped.

If you enjoy thrillers, this is one with enough twists and adventure to keep you riveted and guessing. If you like your thriller along with a good romance, Brad and Sarah’s initial attraction and eventual love will sustain you as they live out their heavenly and earthly desires. A Great summer read.

A recent review for the book

Bookworm 92 4.0 out of 5 stars Lots of Action  Reviewed in the United States on July 17, 2021

An easy read that is part thriller, part love story, a part supernatural. Peter and Teresa are two angels who are sent to earth to thwart an assassination attempt on the president. They assume the identities of Brad, a former Navy SEAL, and Sarah, a woman caught in an abusive marriage.

The action is fast-paced with a cast of characters that keep the reader guessing the identities of those involved in the assassination attempt. Coauthoring a book can’t be an easy task but this was well done so readers aren’t aware of different voices. There were places where the dialogue seemed a bit formal and out of character. Otherwise, an enjoyable book.  

Other books by John Howell

. Read the reviews and buy the books: Amazon USand on: Amazon UK – Goodreads:John Howell Goodreads Blog: John W. Howell. com – Twitter@HowellWave

Other books by Gwen Plano

Gwen Plano, Buy: Amazon US – and : Amazon UK – follow Gwen : Goodreads – website:Gwen PlanoTwitter: @gmplano


Thanks very much for dropping in today and I hope you will be leaving with some books.. thanks Sally.

87 thoughts on “Smorgasbord Cafe and Bookstore Update – #Reviews – #Mystery James J. Cudney, #Memoir Liesbet Collaert, #ParanormalThriller John W. Howell and Gwen Plano

  1. Pingback: Smorgasbord Cafe and Bookstore Update – #Reviews – #Mystery James J. Cudney, #Memoir Liesbet Collaert, #ParanormalThriller John W. Howell and Gwen … | Ace Sales & Authors News

  2. Thank you, Sally, for including John and me in your lovely selection of writers. I’ve been silent for a bit, as I’ve had no internet for a few days due to a move. How wonderful to return to find your post. Thank you for all that you do for so, so many writers. You’re a blessing to us all. 💗

    Liked by 4 people

  3. Pingback: Smorgasbord Blog Magazine – 29th August – September 4th 2021 – New Book Promotions, Out and About, Fleetwood Mac, Reviews, Health, Shortstories and Humour | Smorgasbord Blog Magazine

  4. Pingback: Smorgasbord Cafe and Bookstore Update – #Reviews – #Mystery James J. Cudney, #Memoir Liesbet Collaert, #ParanormalThriller John W. Howell and Gwen … | AFTERNOON TEA 4 TWO…

I would be delighted to receive your feedback (by commenting, you agree to Wordpress collecting your name, email address and URL) Thanks Sally

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.