Smorgasbord Cafe and Bookstore Update – #Reviews – #Fantasy C.S. Boyack, #Poetry Colleen M. Chesebro, #Historical #Witchcraft Nancy Kilgore

The first review today is for The Hat by C.S. Boyack that I can also recommend.

About the book

Lizzie St. Laurent is dealing with many of the struggles of young life. She lost her grandmother, and her living arrangements. Her new roommate abandoned her, and she’s working multiple jobs just to keep her head above water.

She inherits an old hat from her grandmother’s estate, but it belonged to her grandfather. This is no ordinary hat, but a being from an alternate dimension. One with special powers.

Lizzie and the hat don’t exactly hit it off right away, but when her best friend’s newborn is kidnapped by a ring of baby traffickers, Lizzie turns to the hat for help. This leads her deep into her family history and a world she’s never known.

Lizzie gives up everything to rescue the babies. She loses her jobs, and may wind up in jail before it’s over. Along the way, she and the hat may have a new way of making ends meet.

Humorous and fun, The Hat is novella length. Wonderful escapism for an afternoon.

A recent review for The Hat

Chris Graham 5.0 out of 5 stars A fun read  Reviewed in the United Kingdom on 15 October 2021

What a fun and easy read this was. The interaction between an ancient hat and a modern young woman is spot on, especially when trying to teach the hat the do’s and don’ts of modern thinking.

Read the reviews and buy The Hat: Amazon US – And: Amazon UK

A selection of other books by C.S. Boyack

Read the reviews and buy the books: Amazon US – and :Amazon UK – Follow Craig: Goodreads – blog:Cold Hand BoyackTwitter: @Virgilante

The next author today is Colleen M. Chesebro with a recent review for Word Craft Prose & Poetry.

About the guide and collection

Are you ready to learn how to craft Japanese and American poetry? Consider this book the first step on your journey to learning the basics of how to craft syllabic poetry. Inside, you will discover many new forms, syllable combinations, and interpretations of the different Japanese and American forms and structures of haiku, senryu, haiga, tanka, renga/solo renga, gogyohka, haibun, tanka prose, the cinquain, and its variations, Etheree, nonet, and shadorma poetry.

So… what are you waiting for? Let’s craft syllabic poetry together!

A recent review for the guide and poetry collection

Elizabeth Gauffreau 5.0 out of 5 stars Highly Recommended for the Poet in Everyone!  Reviewed in the United States on October 9, 2021

I have Colleen Chesebro’s weekly poetry challenge “Tanka Tuesday” to thank for inspiring me to try writing syllabic poetry for the first time. That initial inspiration resulted in a tanka, which was followed by another, then another, finally becoming my first poetry collection.

Chesebro’s poetry craft book works in a similar fashion. Word Craft first acknowledges and encourages the creative potential in each of us, which I would consider the book’s main premise. We all have the inspiration for poetry inside us; we just need to help that inspiration find its most appropriate form of expression.

Given this premise, it makes sense to begin with syllabic poetry–and so be able to choose a structured form well-suited to what we want to express. For example, have we been struck by the way the winter sky looks when a cold front is approaching? Haiku can capture and hold this observation. Are we bemused by a particular human foible? This observation would be better suited to senryu. And so on, through a wide range of nonrhyming syllabic forms.

The book is well-structured and organized. Each section defines a form of Japanese syllabic poetry and its American counterpart(s), including a brief history of how they evolved. (Credible sources have been consulted and cited for this information.) Next is an explanation of how to write the form, including general subject matter, syllable count, and number of lines. Finally, there are numerous examples of each form written by a range of poets, including Chesebro.

What I most appreciated about Word Craft is that it shines light on syllabic poetry from a number of different angles–any one of which could serve as the reader’s inspiration for a new poem!  

Also by Colleen M. Chesebro

Read the reviews and buy the books: Amazon US And:Amazon UKGoodreads: Colleen at Goodreads – Website Wordcraft poetryAuthor blog: Colleen Chesebro Twitter: @ColleenChesebro

The final review today is for Nancy Kilgore for her most recent release, Bitter Magic: Inspired by the stgory of a confessed witch.

About the book

Bitter Magic, inspired by the true story of Isobel Gowdie and her witchcraft confession, reveals a little-known corner of history—the lives of both pagan and Protestant women in the Scottish Reformation of the 1600s as witch trials and executions threatened their lives, values, and beliefs.

The story is told by Isobel herself and also by Margaret Hay, a fictionalized seventeen-year-old noble woman. When Margaret stumbles across Isobel one day, it seems as though Isobel is commanding the dolphins in the ocean to dance. Margaret is enchanted. She becomes interested in Isobel’s magic, in fairies, and in herbal remedies; Isobel freely shares her knowledge. While Margaret worries that being around Isobel could be dangerous, she also respects Isobel’s medical successes and comes to believe that acknowledging the efficacy of herbal remedies or believing in fairies does not challenge her Christianity.

But Isobel believes in more than cheery fairies and herbal medicine. She has dark wishes as well, unknown to most people. Isobel seeks vengeance against the local lord who executed her mother for witchcraft. More important, Isobel’s trance experiences (or are they dreams?) lead her to confess to a wide range of sins, including consorting with the devil. Then, during her trial, Isobel names thirteen others, calling them all witches. To her great shock, Margaret hears her own name. Can her tutor, a Christian mystic named Katharine, save them?

One of the recent reviews for the book

GHC Knox 5.0 out of 5 stars Bitter Magic Is Like a Good Movie  Reviewed in the United States on October 7, 2021

Nancy Hayes Kilgore is one cunning storyteller. With her third novel Bitter Magic she serves up a fine cinematic feast set in the mid-17th century Scottish countryside. It brings to life an array of characters from all levels of society, and animates their beliefs and superstitions in miracles and witches, God and Satan, truth and dreams. The novel is set at the intersection of religion and psychology, and Hayes Kilgore – a Presbyterian pastoral minister and practicing psychologist living in Vermont – is eminently qualified to write about both. She is a wordsmith whose command of botany and geography give the reader a real sense of being present as the novel’s action unfolds.

One can taste the surf along this rugged coast, feel the snap of a whip, smell the sweat of laboring beasts, or take sides in the warfare among clans and with the occupying English troops. Holding the tale together is the history of Isobel Gowdie, brought to trial as a witch at a time when witches were burned at the stake. We are asked to discern between good magic and bad, religion and idolatry, and the frequent ignorance and hypocrisy of those given power over others. Dr. Hayes Kilgore pits spirituality against religion, and explores how both shape and are shaped by their political world. She is a feminist, and this is a story of the oppression of women and the strengths they develop to free themselves.

Bitter Magic is no philosophical screed; excitement and suspense are created by the author’s technique of letting us see each step of progress in the story through eyes of its characters. She is a masterful presenter of the facets of human character as they are revealed in the book’s protagonists, Isobel the witch and Lady Margaret Hay of Inshoch Castle. Margaret is herself at the crux of youth and adulthood, confronting the issues that growth inevitably produces.

You will love this book if you are a student of history or humanity. It gives a snapshot of ourselves as we come to terms with the emotional and physical world we inhabited in renaissance Scotland – or the world we inhabit now  

Read the reviews and buy the book: Amazon USAnd: Amazon UK – More reviews: Goodreads

Also by Nancy Kilgore

Read the reviews and buy the books: Amazon USAnd: Amazon UK – Follow Nancy: GoodreadsWebsite/blog: Nancy Kilgore – Twitter: @NancyKilgoreBks – LinkedIn: Nancy Hayes Kilgore


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


36 thoughts on “Smorgasbord Cafe and Bookstore Update – #Reviews – #Fantasy C.S. Boyack, #Poetry Colleen M. Chesebro, #Historical #Witchcraft Nancy Kilgore

  1. Pingback: Smorgasbord Blog Magazine Weekly Round Up – 24th- 30th October 2021 – Halloween Party, Out and About, 1981 Top Hits, Bloggers and Authors, Reviews, Health and Humour | Smorgasbord Blog Magazine

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